Friday, August 8, 2008

Renewal In Macalister Valley

Thanks for dropping by.

The Macalister River rises in the hills just below Mt Howitt. It flows south past Licola then into Lake Glenmaggie just north of Heyfield. The Macalister then passes through Maffra, and via the Thompson and Latrobe rivers, into Lake Wellington and the sea.

The valley above Heyfield is a popular spot for locals and visitors. Camping, fishing, hiking and four wheel driving are popular pursuits for the area. I like to peruse many of the gullies for the huge variety of birds and wildflowers.

Back in December 2006, the area was devastated by huge bushfires. The fires raged for two months and burnt out more than 1 million hectares.

Smokey valley - Dec '06

Denuded hill

Just several months later, in June 2007 the region received its heaviest rainfall in years. The denuded ground was unable to absorb or hold back the torrent. As a result, a devastating flood ensued. The river and Lake Glenmaggie remain discoloured with silt to this day.

June '07

Periodically, I have visited some of my favourite spots to check on their recovery, and things seem to be well and truly on the mend. Yesterday, I saw that parts of the valley were returning to their former splendid condition.

Valley view

The birds were in good number and variety – Crescent and White-naped Honeyeaters, King Parrots, Whistlers, Robins, Thornbills, Wrens, and more.

There seemed to be plenty of evidence that the basic ecological cycle of producer – consumer – decomposer, was returning. There were lots of epicormic and lignotuber growth, new seedlings, wildflowers, animal tracks, scats, and fungi.

New growth


King Parrot

Deer track

Hygrocybe firma?

Stereum sp?

There have been some obvious landscape changes in places, for example, the river flats are heavily eroded and there have been some changes in the actual course of the river.

Eroded flats

This is just nature at work of course and has been going on for thousands of years. It is the reason for the rich fertile plains downstream.

The fires and the floods were devastating. There are still many places totally empty of life as yet. However, in many places just a few hundred metres from the river, the deep gullies and gorges seemed untouched. I feel sure time will heal.


  1. Very interesting post and what a beautiful spot as seen in that last shot.

  2. Giving that new fungi book a workout eh Gouldiae! An interesting post.

  3. A very interesting post. We all heard about the fires of course but it is especially interesting to hear what has happened to the area since then.

  4. Yes, it brings back memories of the Mt. Lubra/Grampians fires, Gouldiae. My observation is fire is not behaving as it used to, burning hotter and harder these days.

    It takes a lot to keep Mother Nature down. Some things might change, but life will continue in one form or another.

  5. hi Gouldiae,

    despite the devastation of fire and then flood, it appears to be a good-news story with nature recovering. Interesting.


  6. Nice follow up to the fire and flood. I had read about it on Duncans blog. It was nasty. Glad to see mother nature is bouncing back.

  7. G'day Folks,
    Thanks for the comments. It does seem ol' mother N is a very resilient old girl. We had many a camping trip with our girls and with other family and friends up this valley in years gone by, so we have some very fond memories.

  8. Hi Gouldiae
    You have done a great job of documenting the cycle of fire, flood and regenration. This is an important post.
    I monitored those Victorian Alpine fires and then the Gippsland floods on my blog - from a distance, at the time(s). It is great to see it up close.
    Gaye from the Hunter has lived through floods too.
    Well done on this report.