Neale Dyster and Angela Neville weren’t looking for such a large property in 2012, but their 100-acre home in Prospect Hill has become so important to them that they wish to protect it into the future and have placed it under a Heritage Agreement.
Approximately 85 % of Neale and Angela’s land is covered by native bushland, mostly stringybark forest. There are also many blackwoods, some pink gum and cup gum. The land is hilly and quite steep in places.
The property hasn’t been commercially grazed since before Ash Wednesday (1983) and has a result it has pretty good coverage of native heath understorey with pultenaea, yacka, bracken and maiden hair fern. It also has some native grasses, hakeas, ti-tree, cone-bush and hibbertia.
Neale and Angela have recorded over 40 species of native birds on their property and there is an abundance of kangaroos and echidnas.
“We also have koalas, brush-tail and ring-tail possums. In summer brown and black snakes are common, as well as sleepy lizards and small skinks” said Neil.
Since living at their Prospect Hill property Neil and Angela have removed a ‘tree lucerne forest’, felled and ringbarked pine trees and Cootamundra wattle. The have also removed a large amount of gorse and cleared several gullies of blackberry infestation.
“We are continually working on reducing the amount of Montpellier broom. Watsonia, dog-rose and cotton bush are also constantly in our sights” said Neil.
Neil admits that they have had some help with the work on their property. “We have received a huge amount of support from Ben Simon at GWLAP, largely through his help access funding to pay for weed contractors.
“We’ve also been supported by our neighbours who are fellow members of the Prospect Hill Bushland Group. We’ve had more than our fair share of monthly working bees at our place!”.
By placing a Heritage Agreement on their property, Neale and Angela know that the bushland will be protected in perpetuity. “The main benefit to us is definitely the good feeling we get from knowing we are protecting the land” Neil said, “we also benefit from a modest decrease in our council rates”.
About their property Neil says “we love its location, its size and its views. We especially love the native vegetation, springtime orchids, fauna and the daily interaction with both.
“We love that fact that our land adjoins 6 other similar properties, with like-minded owners, that together make up a significant slice of indigenous habitat, an increasingly rare commodity in modern Australia.”
Looking to the future, Neale and Angela dream of sitting back and enjoying the sights and sounds of their beautiful piece of the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges.
“In reality, we know the war on weeds will be ongoing work!”
Above – a gully that was formerly choked with blackberry. Regeneration of native species is underway.
Photos of Neale and Angela’s beautiful place can be found at: Neale Dyster Photography