Devenish prime lamb producers and Clydesdale breeders Graeme and Bev Trewin always knew there was something special about the trees on a rise on their property locals called ‘Quandong Hill’.
The third generation farmers, now semi-retired, have also found historical records from the 1930s that reported a policeman falling from his horse and dying at Quandong Hill.
“When I was a boy there were several mature Quandong trees on the hill,” Mr Trewin said.
Sweet Quandong or native peach (Santalum acuminatum) is a small tree 2m to 5m tall and can be found on a variety of soil types, sandy loams, clays or rocky ridges.
Over the years the Trewins noticed the number of Quandong trees on the rise had declined.
“Now there is just one remaining mature tree standing,” Mr Trewin said. “However there are about 25 new regenerating plants growing on the site.”
Keen to protect the last tree and the broader site, the Trewins contacted the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and asked them to visit the site and determine what could be done.
Project Officer Sue Logie recognised the significance of the site, knowing the small patch was one of very few populations of the species found in the region.
“We’re planning to fence and revegetate the site to help with the long-term protection of the species and to increase the biodiversity of the site,” Ms Logie said. “The Trewins’ Quandong tree at Devenish is on the edge of its distribution range, so we’re curious to know how widespread and abundant these trees were in the past.”
Another rare but related species, Northern Sandalwood, has been found at Dookie.
Project manager Jim Begley said Ms Logie was working with landholders, collecting and propagating plant material from broader populations of these species to re-establish them into the landscape.
“It’s terrific that the Trewins recognised the importance of protecting the Quandongs on their property,” Mr Begley said. “Sue’s work with people like the Trewin family is important, as we can help with that extra effort, such as fencing and planting, that is sometimes required to bring back a species that once was a more common component of the natural ecosystem.”
Anyone with Quandong or Northern Sandalwood on their property, can contact Sue Logie on 0429 318 765.
The project is funded through the Australian Government.