It was many moons ago back in 1971 when the desire for adventure brought three members of the Swedish born Ramel family to Western Australia. Jorn, Maj and their youngest son also called Jorn, then eight. Jorn senior was in search for adventure and new lands to farm. The family has over a 500 year history farming in Sweden which continues today in Skane, Sweden.
Bellalee is actually an aboriginal name for place of the two eagles. The property is blessed with Cockatoo Creek and Muir’s Brook that marks the beginning of the Tone River which is a tributary running into the renowned Warren River. Even today at summers end the Tone has water.
In 1971 it was a magnificent waterway, heavily treed with an abundance of flora. The Ramel’s were not the first to farm Bellalee. Move forward 40 years, the flow of Cockatoo Creek and Muirs Brook is a little sad, the Tone River still deep but shrunk from its original banks. However it has water even at the end of summer but pleading for help.
Jorn mentioned how beautiful it once was this marked the start of our efforts to return it to what it once was or at least give it our best shot. It took over a year just to get started, we lucked out in meeting Mr Phil Worts from Land for Wildlife. This marked the turn to not one but two regeneration projects this year.
Whilst we have been down several times tinkering around the edges of the projects the Easter long weekend we got serious. As we had secured funding from the Department of Conservation’s 2012-13 Enviornmental Community Grant we moved efficiently and installed just under 4kms of fencing for the first phase of the project.
Today we have confirmation that SWCC – (the South West Catchments Council) have given pre-approval (contracts are yet to be signed) for the second phase of the project. We are in grateful to Mr Terry Brooks from SWCC for his site assessment to assist us is obtaining grant number two.
With these two grants all of Cockatoo Creek, Muirs Brook and the Tone river that are on the property will be fenced and regenerated creating a significant natural corridor for the local flora and fauna. The Tone River has permanent pools that provide refuge for water fowl and aquatic fauna during seasonally dry summer months
To date we would like to thank the follow people:
Mr Phil Wort, Land for Wildlife whose expertise an amazing report has proved invaluable assistance.
DEC and the ECI for granting us funding for the first phase.
Mr Terry Brooks from SWCC and the panel grant number two.
Jane Kowald, Southern Dirt for her expertise in local flora.
Kojonup Agricultural Supplies for the use of the small post rammer
Mr David Lee for the loan of the post rammer for the strainer posts.
Mr Colin-Ednie Brown for the use of his tractor (to fit the strainer post-rammer) and his diesel 4
WD ute to house the small post rammer.
Mr Steve Blyth, Blyth Tree Farm for his knowledge and assistance re local flora
along the start of the Tone River at the end of summer
Jezabel the doggess, looking from the creek line over towards part of the first project regeneration area
Tone river this week after a little rain a fortnight ago
the start of the Tone River at summers end
looking towards Cockatoo Creek
Woodenup Pool, a haven for fauna during the summer month’s
Jorn hard at work on the back of the trailer