Friends of the Cobberas Projects

Feral Horse monitoring in the Cobberas area - a long term project to monitor the impacts of feral horses

The Friends of the Cobberas first project ideas right from it’s inception in 1996 was to be involved in some monitoring of the impacts of feral horses (colloquially called brumbies) that roam this part of the High Country in quite high concentrations.

Follow the story of the project on the Feral Horse impact monitoring page

Anyone interested in more information on the Project can email the group This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You might like to have a look at the feral horse link on our links page which includes more facts about feral horses in the High Country.


Mt Stradbroke Walking Track Project

This is another ongoing project that Friends of the Cobberas volunteers have had a long involvement with.

In 2003 the Friends of the Cobberas had discussions with Parks Victoria about the feasibility of the Friends group being involved in work on a walking track to Mt Stradbroke.  This is a walking track which was proposed in the management plan for the East Alps (Cobberas) Unit of the Alpine National Park and would follow a now disused and overgrown 4WD fire trail for part of the walk.  Our request was met with enthusiasm by Ranger in Charge of the East Alps Unit, Dave Foster who accompanied the group on an on site appraisal of the walk in November 2003.  With the aftermath of the 2003 bushfires, the proposed track was littered with fallen trees and it was decided to wait until a works crew could complete the heavier clearing work, before the Friends took on the project.  Some time elapsed before this was possible and there is still a constant (but gradually reducing) accumulation of fallen fire affected trees and branches.

“The weekend of March 25-26, 2006 saw an enthusiastic group of Friends meet at the start of the Mt Stradbroke Track for a Working Bee on the track.  It was great to welcome a new member on his first activity with us along with a visitor who had joined up by the end of the weekend!   Two rangers from Parks Victoria at Omeo came along with the new sign and lots of gear. 

We took turns digging the holes for the posts, assembled the sign and carefully located it in quick set concrete.  Then sat back and admired our handy-work. 

After a cuppa, we walked off down the track.  One of the rangers went on ahead with the chainsaw to cut larger branches off, while the rest of us follow pulling smaller timber off the track. 

Post fire there are some really thick patches of wattle saplings, spelling walking problems in the near future. 

 

sign

It quickly became evident that the clearing work was too much to do in a day,  we settled for concentrating on marking this unmarked section of track.

Even so, the time ran out before we reached the summit unfortunately and we had to turn back without completing the job.  It was a long but productive day and the weather was beautiful.  While the rangers had to head home, the rest of us enjoyed a lovely night camped at Native Dog Flat.”

Further working bees have focussed on ensuring the route is adequately marked even if a distinct track is not available all the way. We constantly need to review the effectiveness of track markers and clearing work is only focussed on one small section at a time, sometimes helped by Parks Victoria work crews. Members are enthusiastic about creating some track notes with information about flora and fauna and hopefully this will become a reality in future years.

See Forthcoming activities page for details of the next Working Bee at Mt Stradbroke

Post fire re-growth and low usage means this will always be more of a walking route than a formed track, but for many that adds something to the experience of walking in wild mountain areas.

Currently Mt Stradbroke Walking Track is signposted at the start, the route is marked sporadically and open for adventurous walkers. A number of groups have used the track, enjoying the fantastic scenery and remoteness of the area. Thanks to Melbourne Bushwalkers for these photos..

 

 

Left: Pointing out the Snowy River from summit of Mt Stradbroke, Melbourne Bushwalkers Easter 2006

 

Left: Last bit to the summit of Mt Stradbroke, Melbourne Bushwalkers Easter 2007

 


Playgrounds walking track to Cobberas 1

Post fire regrowth and numerous zig-zag feral horse trails had combined to make it very difficult for walkers to find and follow the walking route from the Playgrounds toward Cobberas 1. Friends of the Cobberas volunteers installed a timber sign at the Playgrounds to indicate the commencement of the track and some sparse but important track markers at intervals along the way to make it easier for walkers to define the walking route. Although not a formal track and not maintained, it is now easier to find your way. Walkers must always be mindful that they are walking to the edge of a Wilderness area and they need to fully self-reliant. This means carrying a map and knowing how to use it, sufficient water (never rely in finding water along the way) and food, plus clothes for sudden changes in mountain weather.


Playgrounds exclusion fence to protect an alpine peatland

 

Friends of the Cobberas were included in a joint Parks Victoria and Department of Sustainability and Environment project to fence off a significant alpine peatland and the associated grasslands at The Playgrounds.  This will provide protection from feral horses. These ecosystems are home to threatened flora and fauna and members have had opportunities to participate in orchid monitoring at the site.

Alpine peatland interpretive sign at The Playgrounds

 


 

New Yard Flat sign

In 2008 using a Parks Victoria Community Grant, the Friends of the Cobberas designed an interpretive sign to highlight the historic significance of the old yards at New Yard Flat near Mt Wombargo. The Cobberas area is rich in history and there is scope for our group to contribute to other interpretive signs in the future.

The story of the old yard at New Yard Flat

 Not just a jumble of old logs, these are part of a rich history


 

Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby poster and brochures

Back in 1999 the Friends of the Cobberas received a grant to produce and print Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby brochures and the beautiful posters featuring a painting by Traci Wilson-Brown. Stocks of both the poster and brochures steadily dwindled after being distributed widely to the general community. Members of Friends of the Cobberas have assisted by ensuring they find their way across Australia and to points on the globe far removed from Victoria including Japan, Canada, USA, New Guinea, Malaysia, Britain, Slovenia and Bosnia.  In 2002 Friends of the Cobberas successfully received a Parks Victoria Community Grants to reprint this important interpretation kit.  The Friends of the Cobberas worked closely with the Victorian Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby Recovery Team to make minor amendments and to plan the print run to enable these items to again be freely distributed for many years to come to help raise awareness of the plight of our very special wallabies.

The captive bred Victorian Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies that are currently supplementing wild populations were based on four individuals taking from the Rocky Plains Creek area, so our group has special links with this threatened species program.