The National Trust of Western Australia will shortly be saying a fond farewell and good luck to two of its valued stewards, Eric and Gillian Wheatley.
Years of service
Just south of Bridgetown is the property knows as Snottygobble Hill, named after the plant Persoonia longifolia (and not the questionable hobby of some). An impressive example of Western Australia’s Jarrah/Marri/Banksia bushland in its natural state, Snottygobble Hill is currently registered with the National Trust’s Conservation Covenant and Stewardship Program.
For nearly 30 years, the stewardship of Snottygobble Hill has remained under the conscientious care of Eric and Gillian Wheatley, from which they and their family have derived much pleasure and enjoyment. They have, however, decided that it is now time to pass on the responsibility of its management to others.
In a recent stewardship visit by Natural Heritage Officer Diana Papenfus, the couple reflected on their time at the property and expressed their appreciation of knowing the conservation program was, and will continue to be, over their land protecting the bush.
Hurdles in the hills
While the property has been maintained in excellent condition, there are always pernicious threats that affect our distinct native flora and fauna. Namely, weeds, feral animals and inappropriate fire regimes.
Despite this Gillian and Eric have maintained the property in such a condition that few bushland management actions are necessary other than maintaining the fences.
During Diana’s visit and a tour of the property, some evidence of feral rabbit and fox was noted. Feral pigs are known to occur along the Blackwood River but there was little evidence of their activity on Snottygobble Hill. According to the Gillian and Eric numbers of Western Grey kangaroos fluctuate and can have an impact on the bushland at times.
Weeds are always an ongoing menace on the bushland. Control of them occupy most of the Gillian and Eric’s attention. During this visit it was noted that a flourish of Garden Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) was occurring along the river – again. This is despite the perpetual actions of grubbing and use organic herbicides to remove the plants.
Leading the way
The United Nations declared 2021–30 as the ‘Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’. As an early adopter of the National Trust’s covenant program, Eric and Gillian Wheatley have played an important part in ecosystem protection. We thank them for their amazing efforts and wish them the best of luck in their future ventures.
The National Trust is proud of its commitment to working to protect the natural heritage for our future generations and we look forward to working with the new owners of Snottygobble Hill.
How can you help?
We are lucky to live in one of the most biodiverse places on earth and it is our commitment at the National Trust to protect and share the beauty of our natural heritage, like Snottygobble Hill, with future generations.
You can help the National Trust raise awareness of the value of natural heritage. By volunteering and/or donating to our cause, you will help us:
- continue our Conservation Covenant and Stewardship Program
- work with communities to protect significant trees
- manage bushland at National Trust properties
- continue conservation and other activities that protect Western Australia’s internationally recognised biodiversity.
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