October events a highlight for Belair National Park staff

Last month was a busy time for National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia (NPWSSA) rangers and staff at Belair National Park with several events successfully held as part of their Park of the Month celebrations.

The Reopening of Old Government showcased newly completed upgrades to the coach house and garden*

These included St John's Grammar School unveiling a mural they had worked on with local Kaurna member Uncle Tamaru, along the Valley Loop hike, next to Railway dam.

Year 6 art students and teachers from the school unveiled the mural with Uncle Tamaru welcoming guests with a smoking ceremony and sharing Kaurna stories depicted in the mural.

NPWSSA rangers Brent Lores and Jarrah Bailey were also present on the day to thank everyone for their hard work and to encourage more projects like these in the future.

‘NPWSSA Rangers and Field Staff prepared the mural site by covering a large swathe of graffiti with a grey undercoat, providing the class with a blank canvas for their project,’ Jarrah said.

‘The creekline was also given a tidy up and swampy areas were covered with recovered boardwalk pieces to provide stable ground.

‘I’d like to give a special mention to the school’s Visual Arts Teacher Katie Routley, for going above and beyond to get the project completed in time, under constraints from weather and tricky schedules.’

Katie said the mural portrays the rainbow serpent, which Uncle Tamaru explained is an important story for the Kaurna people, painted in bright colours.

‘Also in the background you will notice a silhouette of a kangaroo tail – which signifies the mountain ranges of SA in the shape of a kangaroo,’ she said.

‘In each section of the background, painted in more muted, earthy tones, you will see the Kaurna symbols for various animals in the park, kangaroo, possum and emu, as well as waterways, waterholes and hills.’

Last month The Friends of Old Government House also hosted a grand reopening of the site to show off newly completed upgrades to the coach house and garden as part of a recent Adelaide City grant.

‘The Friends were thrilled to host this event as part of Belair National Park's Park of the Month (POTM) celebrations,’ Jarrah said.

‘The opening, which came after months of COVID-19 and weather-related delays, was followed by historical tours open to the public.’

‘The tours also included members of the Victoriana Society of South Australia dressed in periodic fashion.’

The upgrades were unveiled by Nicolle Flint MP, who was pivotal in securing the funding, current President of the Friends group Wayne Gallasch, and former President Dene Cordes.

NPWSSA Executive Director Mike Williams, NPWSSA Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges (AMLR) National Parks and Wildlife Manager Richard DeGroot, AMLR District Ranger Jen Pitman, senior NPWSSA staff and rangers, Friends members, a representative on behalf of Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs, and many other important stakeholders attended the event.

‘Thanks to G-Force Building and Consulting and Arcuate Architects for overcoming many hurdles and managing to finish the upgrades ahead of schedule, allowing for inclusion into POTM programming,’ Jarrah said.

‘Historical tours will be open on the first and third Sunday of every month (dependent on COVID-19 restrictions), and the group is always looking for more volunteers. Check out their Facebook page and website for more information.’

For further information please get in touch with NPWSSA Ranger Jarrah Bailey

Unveiling of the St John's Grammar School mural. Left to right: Uncle Tamaru, school students who painted the mural, Year 6 art teacher Katie Routley, NPWSSA Ranger Jarrah Bailey and NPWSSA Senior Ranger Brent Lores. Photo provided courtesy of Kaneophoto

*From left to right: National Parks and Wildlife Services South Australia Executive Director Mike Williams, Member for Boothby Nicolle Flint and Friends of Old Government House President Wayne Gallasch. Photo provided courtesy of Wayne Gallasch