Gleeson Wetlands Early History

A little of the early history of the Gleeson Wetland, and photos from before Lions' involvement

Early work; before Lions involvement
Image credit: Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council
May 2012
Image credit: Helen Perry, 2012/05/28
The next six photos were taken on 17th April 2014, just before the Lions became actively involved. The conspicuous growth in four of the photos below is marshmallow.

Compare these photos with those taken in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Pre Lions
Western side of Pond 1, looking north
Pre Lions
SW side of Pond 3, looking NW
Pre Lions
SE side of Pond 1, looking SW
Pre Lions
NE side of Pond 3, SE of little peninsula, looking SE
Pre Lions
Peninsula area of Pond 2; where Torii gate now is
Pre Lions
SE side of Pond 1, looking SW

Some significant dates:

1972, September
Common effluent scheme opened. This involved big ponds that were isolated from the Hutt River.

Old effluent ponds removed and construction work on wetland completed on the same site.

2012, early June
6ha of non-seeding rye grass planted for embankment stabilisation

Council statement of practical completion for the initial project

2013, July
Council received funding from the Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board to improve the biodiversity of the wetlands and Rural Solutions SA were engaged to manage and deliver the project.

2014, early April?
Lions consider involvement in Gleeson Wetlands

2014, early June
Lions resolved to become involved in weed control and improving the wetlands vegetation. A joint venture agreement was signed between Lions and Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council.

Contractors (InField Ag) planted 3100 seedlings of grasses, sedges and small shrubs

Lions held their first working bee at the wetland. Following working bees were scheduled for the last Sunday of each month.
This Internet site established.

2014/07/25, 27
About 1000 seedlings planted by school students and community members

2014, August
First payment from Council to Lions, $2000

2015, January (possibly December 2014)
Japanese Torii gate erected on the eastern side of Pond 2. Clare and Gilbert Valleys has a sister city arrangement with Bizen in Okayama Prefecture, Japan.

Lions plant the first 100 of about 500 seedlings grown by Trees For Life. The remainder were planted over the following weeks and months.

Lions Gleeson Wetlands Facebook page established

Gleeson Wetlands added to Tripadviser

2015, late July
The first of serious numbers (eventually more than a thousand) tree guards put in place. By the end of the year many guards were already being removed as the plants out-grew them.

2016, March
Several hundred shrubs, grasses and ground-covers were planted following the rains of 10th and 11th March. The ground became too dry and hard for planting by about mid April.

2016, April
Most areas were mulched by this time; this was a very big job and was done over the whole of the period from the beginning of Lions' involvement.

2016, May
Two narrow walking tracks were made through the plantings; one on the western side of Pond 2 and the other on the north-eastern side of south-eastern end of Pond 3. By this time it was becoming apparent that tracks would be needed for people to easily pass through the thickening vegetation and it would be better to mark them out early rather than leaving them until they would have to be cut through later.

By early 2017 these tracks had become indistinguishable because of weeds, weeding and the necessary spreading of mulch. Maintaining similar tracks needs more voluntary labour than is forthcoming.

2016, September
Ford on water course from Inchiquin lake washed out

2017, July
Bird hide built
Lions Gleeson Wetlands added to Google Earth and Google Maps.

2017, August
Ford on water course from Inchiquin lake repared

Council has a historical collection of photos dating from before the establishment of the wetlands (when there were sewage ponds on the site) up until the first plantings. Unfortunatly only one of the photos is dated (07/06/2012).

Council also has a 4 minute video on the wetlands which tells about the establishment and shows the wetlands at a very early stage (probably about March 2013).