Upgrade for walking tracks in Dirawong

ABOVE: George Henderson, Richard Gates, Nationals candidate Richie Williamson, Minister Kevin Anderson and Neville Bofinger at Dirawong Reserve in Evans Head.

Susanna Freymark

Walking through the wilderness of the Dirawong Reserve to Chinamans Beach will be easier when the walking tracks are repaired and upgraded.

Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson was in Evans Head today, Thursday, January 12, to meet with Dirawong Reserve Trust members Neville Bofinger, George Henderson and Richard Gates to talk about how a $27,700 State Government grant will make access to the isolated beach better.

The 350ha reserve is on Crown Land.

“A lot of it is wilderness,” Mr Bofinger said.

“And there are a number of endangered species here.”

The list of endangered species living in the reserve includes beach stone-curlew, the Eastern emu-wren, the pygmy perch and many more.

Mr Bofinger said it wasn’t only birds and fish that sought sanctuary in the reserve’s wilderness.

“Prior to beach mining (1969–1972) a botanist found a dwarf Christmas bush,” he said.

The botanist took a cutting. Mr Bofinger has managed to get that cutting and has a dwarf Christmas bush in his garden.

“We’ve been in contact with the Botanic Gardens to check the DNA of the plant,” Mr Henderson said.

For 40 years the trust has managed the reserve and has worked with the State Government, Crown Lands, RFS, National Parks and Defence who own some land adjoining the reserve.

“This is an important part of Indigenous history and belongs to the Bandjalang,” Mr Henderson said.

Part of that history is a massacre site next to the reserve.

The minister was impressed with the volunteers’ efforts as he looked out across the trees and towards the curving rock formation at the end of Chinamans Beach.

“This is pristine,” Mr Anderson said. “The environment needs to be protected.”

He said to the men, “it is volunteers like you who do the hard work and protect the environment for the greater good”.

He promised that with Nationals candidate Richie Williamson he would look into the Reflections Holiday Park working in partnership with the Dirawong Reserve Trust to benefit the reserve.

The holiday park is also on NSW Crown Land.

The grant money is part of the NSW Government’s Crown Reserves Improvement Fund.

A brochure of the walking tracks in Dirawong Reserve is available from the Living Museum and Tourist Information.

At the Dirawong Reserve. Photos: Susanna Freymark
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