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Conserving Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub


You may know that Centennial Parklands is home to a range of native and exotic flora – but do you know we also conserve an endangered plant community called the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub? 

Not only do we conserve it, but we’re a best-practice site for its conservation!


What is Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub?

Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub is a nationally and state-listed endangered ecological scrub and heath vegetation community confined to deep, wind formed sand deposits in the coastal suburbs of Sydney. Estimates are that it originally covered over 5,300 hectares, however today there is less than 127 hectares remaining (a loss of over 97%).

We have several remnant patches of remnant Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub in Centennial Park, and undertake active bush regeneration work at the sites at the Bird Sanctuary in Centennial Park and adjacent York Road in Centennial Park.


ESBS remnants in Centennial Parklands (Bird Sanctuary on right; York Road on left)

ESBS remnants in Centennial Parklands (Bird Sanctuary on right; York Road on left)


Survival threats…

The fragments of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub that remain in Sydney are generally small and isolated, which inhibits the functioning of natural ecological processes.

In addition to vegetation clearing, other threats include habitat degradation resulting from increased nutrients from stormwater runoff, invasion by weed species, inappropriate fire regimes, and inappropriate access resulting in erosion and illegal rubbish dumping.

Build-up of leaf litter resulting in reduced germination of plants from the soil seed bank is also considered a threat, as are the effects of pests and disease. Grazing by European rabbits and predation by foxes and domestic animals, and infection of plants by the pathogen Phytphthora cinnamomi are also considered major threats.


Our ‘best practice’ conservation…

In 2008 Centennial Parklands was recognised as a best practice ‘Threatened Species Demonstration Site’ for our management program of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub remnants. This recognised the quality work of our horticultural and bush regeneration staff, supported admirably by a dedicated and hard working team of bush regeneration volunteers.


The role of fire…

Fire is an important natural element in many native plant communities, with some species – like Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub – being reliant on fires of a particular intensity and frequency for regeneration.

Within urban environments, the suppression of fire can result in a loss of species diversity through the local extinction of species that typically require fire for seed germination. Fire, or ecological burning, is a standard practice we undertake as part of our species management in the Parklands, as it helps germination and maintains the floristic composition and vegetation structure of the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub community.


Volunteers are a regular sight in the Bird Sanctuary

Volunteers are a regular sight in the Bird Sanctuary


What to know more about ESBS?

Here is a great Fact Sheet (PDF) on Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub in the Sydney Region.

If you are a public or private landholder with remnant ESBS on your property, here is a more detailed publication that outlines the NSW Recovery Plan for the species: ESBS Listing and Recovery Plan.

For those seeking more scientific insight, here is a brief presentation on the importance of fire in Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub communities.



We would like to acknowledge:

  • the support of the Centennial Parklands Foundation for their funding support of the ESBS maintenance program
  • the dedicated and long-term work of the bush regeneration volunteers who turn up routinely, work diligently and have displayed a long-term commitment to their project – to ensure our threatened plant community is preserved.


Become an Insider


Conservation work underway in Queens Park


An important threatened species conservation project is underway in Queens Park to protect a remnant of the endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS).

This Project, supported by the Sydney Coastal Councils Group through funding from the Australian Government, aims to:

  • reduce weeds within the remnant vegetation to provide some space under the canopy species for native species regeneration; and
  • create a buffer planting zone and plant non-provenance native species in northern edge of site to create a barrier to weeds and minimise mowing adjacent to the remnant.


What is ESBS?

ESBS is a nationally and state-listed Endangered Ecological scrub and heath vegetation community confined to deep, wind formed sand deposits in the coastal suburbs of Sydney. It originally covered over 5,300 hectares, however today there is less than 145 hectares (a loss of over 97%).

Six remnant areas of ESBS can be found in Centennial Parklands, with a considerable amount of restoration activity undertaken to restore and conserve the Bird Sanctuary and York Road remnants (in Centennial Park).

This Queens Park remnant, however, is in poor condition and is struggling to survive.


ESBS restoration works and ongoing maintenance in Centennial Park has successfully improved the remnant

ESBS restoration works and ongoing maintenance in Centennial Park has successfully improved the remnant


The project

Bush regeneration works commenced in January 2016 and the buffer planting is scheduled for March / April 2016.

Park visitors are advised that weeds and grass will be sprayed with herbicide in preparation for planting.

Temporary signs will be placed at these location prior to the herbicide application.


Restoration work is underway in Queens Park to improve the ESBS remnant

Restoration work is underway in Queens Park to improve the ESBS remnant


Centennial Parklands recognised as ‘best practice’

In 2008 we were recognised by the then NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (now known as the Office of Environment and Heritage) as a best practice “Threatened Species Demonstration Site” for our management of ESBS remnants.

This recognition is an endorsement of the quality work of our horticultural staff who oversee the maintenance program, supported admirably by a dedicated and hard working team of bush regeneration volunteers.

This group of volunteers turns up routinely, works diligently and have displayed a long-term commitment to their project – to ensure our threatened species is preserved. You may have even passed them by and hardly noticed them. The cost of maintenance is funded by the Centennial Parklands Foundation.


What to know more about ESBS?


Become an Insider



Recognising Centennial Parklands Volunteers

Volunteering is one of the life bloods of our organisations and has been a part of the way we work at Centennial Parklands for over 13 years. Every year we take the time to celebrate our volunteers and the work they have achieved over the last year to support and protect our wonderful Parklands.

From bird watching to growing plants, some of the most unique opportunities to give back while in a natural setting can be found, right here, across Centennial Park, Queens Park and Moore Park.

We are humbled and appreciative that 130 dedicated volunteers and 750 corporate volunteers have taken the time out of their day to come and make a difference in the community so on UN’s International Volunteer Day we say thank you!

Uni of Sydney Business School Volunteer Group Guriwal Trail Centennial Parklands

Why is volunteering important?


As a self-funded public parkland, we are reliant on the community’s support and corporate volunteering contributions to help us carry out tasks that we are not always able to carry out through our own day-to-day operations.

We started to formally engage volunteers in 2004 but we have had members of the community donating their time and lending a helping long before that as well. It is our volunteers and their willingness to support us that ensures the environmental and social benefits of the Parklands continue to reach our visitors every day.

How do our volunteers contribute?


Over a year our volunteers contribute up to 8,500 hours of in-kind work across 15 different programs which wouldn’t be possible without the help of our Site Coordinator Volunteer Programs, Murray Gibbs. These programs vary from horticulture, litter patrol, visitor information services, habitat restoration, bush regeneration, carp management, wildlife monitoring and archiving.

Here are some other projects and their achievements to date we wanted to share with you.

The Parklands Beautification team


Two of our dedicated volunteers Tony and Dion have been collecting litter across the Parklands for 4 years and during that time collected over 20,000 litres of litter! We also have volunteer Luke who takes care of Kippax Lake in Moore Park and you can often see him collecting litter from both pathways and ponds to keep the surrounding areas plastic free. It is small things like these that can go unnoticed by the public but we love what they do!


The Guriwal Bush Trail


One of our newest volunteer projects that are really taking off in the south-west corner of Centennial Park is the regeneration of the Guriwal Bush Trail, which involves the restoration of a degraded 10’000 square metre natural site.  This site is being developed into an Aboriginal cultural space, including bush tucker garden, cultural dance space and artwork in collaboration with local Aboriginal community.

Uni of Sydney Business School planting Centennial Parklands

What you may not know about this project is that this area is an important site for the Aboriginal community and popular area for volunteering with both community and corporate volunteer groups. One of the local community members, Ana-Maria, has worked nearly every session since the group started in 2016.

The focus of this project is on developing and connecting community, engaging the community and corporate volunteers, and ensuring excellent environmental, cultural and educational outcomes.

Growing Group


The Parklands Growing Group is an important volunteer group that was established in 2009 and who propagates plant material for planting within the Parklands to raise funds through plant sales. Each year these volunteers contribute around 900 hours of their time to propagate plant material in the nursery located at the Discovery Centre, which was funded and opened by the Centennial Parklands Foundation.

Nursery Plant Sale

As a result of the work of their work we host three plant sales annually – one on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and a Christmas Plant Sale in December, which is taking place on Saturday 16 December this year. Money raised from these sales goes directly back into the group to enhance facilities and help continue the great work of our nursery volunteers.

The Growing Group volunteers focus on propagating and selling plant species found within the Parklands’ Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS) threatened species sites, and also the exotic species found growing within the Parklands’ horticultural displays.

Plant Sale Centennial Parklands

The Native Vegetation Survey


The Native Vegetation Survey has one main volunteer who comes to the Park every Saturday. Diana recently completed a massive project by identifying and documenting all native Vegetation across Centennial Parkland and Queens Park –that is a lot of walking and a lot of plants!


Lachlan Swamp Habitat Restoration


Marylon Coate has been a volunteer since 2008 and recently completed a three-year long restoration of the endangered flying fox camp at Lachlan Swamp. She removed an invasive weed species by using a hand saw and fork! This greatly improved the strength and resilience of the native vegetation and eliminated the weed from the head of Sydney’s largest inner metropolitan wetland.

invasive weed removal Eygnium species

Carp Management


In addition to these programs we coordinate, we also have several ongoing partnerships with special programs such as Fishing 4 Therapy with our carp whisperer that changes the lives of the elderly, people with disabilities, stroke victims, or people with Cerebral Palsy or Down Syndrome, the freedom to express themselves after months or years of being locked inside their bodies and the young to experience a new side of relaxation and life that an electronic game set cannot offer.

Centennial Parklands Carp Management

Centennial Parklands Foundation


Our independent charitable arm, the Centennial Parklands Foundation, also assists in a variety of programs that raise money to support the projects including our new Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden and Celebration Steps now underway in Centennial Park.

Since October 2012, Centennial Parklands Foundation has provided funding for the role of Environment Officer at Centennial Parklands, currently held by Amara Glynn. Amara has a BASc (Hons) in Ecology and Environmental Science and is responsible for supervising and coordinating environmental initiatives, including vertebrate pest, noxious weed and aquatic vegetation management, water management including water quality testing, waste management, power management, coordinating research applications and monitoring environmental issues.

In addition to funding the role, Centennial Parklands Foundation funds a number projects managed by Amara, these include:

  • Pest and weed control
  • Bat and bird monitoring
  • Vegetation monitoring

We are lucky to have such individuals like Amara and our volunteers that love and respect our green spaces as much as we do.


Regeneration of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub


The Volunteer Bush Regeneration group in the Parklands undertakes important regeneration work in the endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub remnants at York Road and the Bird Sanctuary. This year has seen a great turn-out for this monthly weekend bush activity.

Centennial Park volunteers Banskia Scrub

Bird Group


Our volunteer Bird Group do an amazing job of surveying the diversity of bird life that frequent or have taken up residency in the Parklands. Following the far-western flooding event of 2016, which saw the virtual disappearance of some common birds in the park, they have since come back to the Parklands.

Visitors are now able to see the return of the Eurasian Coot and Hardhead  Ducks Nankeen Night Herons ducks to the ponds. Other more unusual birds have been seen by our volunteers including the Satin Bower Bird, brown and Rufous Songlarks and White Winged Trillers.

Sulphur-crested cockatoo

Why become a volunteer at Centennial Parklands?


Beyond the milestones and hours of service, 2017 is a proud moment for us because it showcased the impact people can make to one of Australia’s most loved outdoor spaces. Our volunteers are thanked in various ways throughout the year and during National Volunteer Week (8-14 May) with several events.

We believe that our volunteers are a vital part of the pure energy and enthusiasm that maintains the vibrant environment for the public to enjoy. Most importantly volunteering reconnects the community with nature, keeps you socially active and mentally healthy.


How do I sign up?


There are several established volunteer programs that have long-term volunteers and many short-term corporate volunteering programs across Centennial Parklands. Contact our team to find more information on how you can join our network of volunteers here.

 In addition to programs that we coordinate, we have several ongoing partnership programs with third party organisations including:

  • Conservation Volunteering Australia
  • Birds Australia
  • Australian National Sportsfishing Association
  • Clean Up Australia Day
  • GreenFriends
  • Sydney Wildlife

If you are already a volunteer we would love for you to share your story with us and send in some snaps! Tag us with @centparklands #centennialparklands


Hello sunshine! Rare wattle plant found in the Parklands

We were very excited recently to uncover two very rare little wattle plants in the Parklands. The ‘Sunshine Wattle’ or as scientifically named, ‘Acacia terminalis subsp. Terminalis’ has large, fluffy, pale yellow flowers, and is so uncommon, there are thought to be no more than around 1,000 plants in bush regeneration areas across the state!

The plants were discovered during a routine survey of the protected Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub areas in Centennial Park. Eastern Surburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS) is an endangered ecological scrub and heath vegetation community confined to deep, wind formed sand deposits in the coastal suburbs of Sydney.

Essentially, because our bush regeneration volunteers and environmental team members have been taking such good care of the community of native plants that form the Eastern Surburbs Banksia Scrub, vital species like the Sunshine Wattle have been protected and their growth encouraged!


What does Sunshine Wattle look like?


As its pretty name suggests, ‘Sunshine Wattle’ has large, soft, round, very pale yellow flowers which burst into full colour in autumn. The plant grows from one to five metres tall, it has unique branchlets which are angled and feature delicate narrow leaves. Each plant also has seed pods which grow from three to eleven centimetres long.



What else is being done to protect it?


Centennial Parklands will continue to maintain a best practice program for the management of the pockets of Eastern Surbubs Banksia Scrub remnants. This involves lots of quality hard work from horticultural and bush regeneration staff, supported by a dedicated team of bush regeneration volunteers. Occasionally, it also involves fire, or ecological burning which helps with germination and maintains the floristic composition and vegetation structure of the plants.

There are also other, more specific programs in place to protect the Sunshine Wattle Plant. Check out this Saving Our Species program page for more info.


How you can help


Left wondering what you can do to help? Here are a few simple ways:

  1. Join our happy Bush Regeneration Volunteers and contribute to the maintenance and management of our beautiful native flora in the Parklands (including the Eastern Surburbs Banksia Scrub).
  2. Leave no trace – take your litter with with you when you visit the Parklands; waste left in picnic areas easily builds up and has a negative big-picture impact on the environment.
  3. Support the Centennial Parklands Foundation. Did you know this charitable arm of Centennial Parklands contributes to a host of environmental projects, including funding of Eastern Surburbs Banksia Scrub management and the employment of a full-time environmental specialist?


Thursday 7 September 2017 is Threatened Species Day…


Centennial Parklands is not just a community green space, it is an important home for many rare native flora and fauna. There is currently a total of six threatened species and one threatened ecological community recorded across the Parklands. These are:

  • Grey-headed Flying-fox, roosting colony at Lachlan Swamp
  • Powerful Owls sighted on a regular basis
  • White-bellied Sea-Eagle, a rare visitor
  • Freckled Duck, a rare visitor
  • Eastern bentwing bat, occasional visitor
  • Acacia terminalis subsp. terminalis, two plants
  • Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub, endangered ecological communities (six remnant sites)


There are other ways you can help to look after our threatened species:




Learn how to style Instagram-worthy succulents

Ever wondered how people get their succulents looking so good? We have too. It turns out, there’s a knack to styling and growing succulents. Fortunately, Centennial Parklands’ fun new Inside Dig workshop is about to show you the top secrets to help you make your Instagram inspiration a reality.

Starting in September this unique workshop will combine beginners’ tips in a relaxed social setting. As a bonus, there’s plenty of wine, delicious antipasto and great company to be shared while you’re doing it!


Succulent wreath inspiration to aspire to

A succulent wreath …inspiration to aspire to



What will it cover and why succulents?


This great new experience will help you tell your Senecio from your Sedum. According to Yates horticulturalist and Inside Dig teacher, Angie Thomas, “succulents are so versatile and hardy and you can grow them in a range of conditions”.

Think indoor plantings for your coffee table, a stylish corner cluster for your balcony – even a miniature fairy garden for a child – there are so many trends emerging that you will never be short of inspiration. As an added bonus, participants will get to take home their own succulent creation with the knowledge about how to keep it looking great!


Succulents are hardy and versatile - you are only limited by your imagination

Succulents are hardy and versatile – you are only limited by your imagination


When is it on?


Friday 1 September 2017.  If you are interested, you can book your place online now, but hurry – spaces are limited!


Love getting your hands dirty?


Did you know there are other ways you can get your hands dirty with the Parklands? We have a volunteer Nursery Growing Group who meet twice a month and contribute around 900 hours per year to propagating plants to sell at our popular seasonal Plant Sale events. Get your green thumbs on one of their plants at the next sale, this Father’s Day weekend.

We also have a Bush Regeneration group who meet regularly to care for and restore the endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub flora in the Parklands. It’s incidental exercise out in the fresh air and right now, we are looking for volunteers. Register today to join in the fun!



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