New sign celebrates transformation of George Brook Reserve

Celebrating the new sign at George Brook Reserve were (L-R) Gemma Iseppi (Shire of Murray), Theo Kearing (Bindjareb Middars Performance Group), Cr David Bolt (Shire of Murray), Brett Flugge (Shire of Murray), Ruth Cripps (Greening Australia) and Suellen Jerrard (Alcoa). Photo credit: Jesse Collins

A new interpretative sign has been installed at George Brook Reserve on the Murray River near Pinjarra, celebrating the story of its transformation and the area’s significance to the local Bindjareb Noongar people.

The sign installation was attended by representatives from Greening Australia, the Shire of Murray and Alcoa, together with Theo Kearing from Bindjareb Middars Performance Group.

The unveiling marks a one-year anniversary. This time last year, funding from the Alcoa Foundation was used to install a brush wall to slow erosion in the river bend.

Representatives from Greening Australia, Shire of Murray and the Bindjareb Middars youth group joined forces to make and put the brush wall in place. Volunteers from Alcoa then planted sedges and rushes behind the brush wall to collect silt and stabilise the bank.

Greening Australia, Shire of Murray and the Bindjareb Middars youth group installed a brush wall to slow riverbank erosion at George Brook Reserve. Photo credit: Jesse Collins

These efforts are all part of a long-running, collaborative clean-up of George Brook Reserve. Once a degraded grass land, visitors can now enjoy a stroll or picnic at the reserve, surrounded by native vegetation.

Since restoration began in 2014, countless volunteers, local residents, staff from various organisations and more than 500 schoolchildren have been involved in planting and restoration works.

Through the Alcoa-funded Million Trees and Three Rivers One Estuary initiatives, Greening Australia and the Shire of Murray have also added tens of thousands of seedlings to the reserve. Support for the site’s transformation has also come from Peel Harvey Catchment Council, Men of the Trees and AccorHotels.

Shire of Murray Cr David Bolt said: “The story of George Brook is a wonderful example and celebration of community collaboration in support of the protection and enhancement of our environment – one of our most significant responsibilities as human beings and advocates of Murray.”

Among the Kunzea, Jacksonia and Melaleuca species planted to regenerate the riverbanks and provide habitat for local wildlife, there are rescued specimens of a rare species of Grevillea.

These young seedlings were propagated from the original parent plant, which has since died due to riverbank erosion. This casualty lends added significance to the brush wall project.

Stabilising the banks with plantings also improves habitat and water quality for the many native animals and fish depending on the Murray River, including the Rakali (Native Water Rat) and the Karrak (threatened Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo).

Alcoa Corporate Affairs Manager Suellen Jerrard said the company was proud to be involved in this important work through its Three Rivers partnership with Greening Australia, and its broader Three Rivers, One Estuary Initiative, which also provides funding and volunteers to help improve the Serpentine and Murray rivers along with the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

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