THIS WEEK'S FEATURE ARTICLES




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The joy of books
Oh dear, temptation. Do I really need more books? As someone once said, you can’t have too many books – just not enough bookshelves. When it came to  this month’s Taroona Book Sale, organised by the Lions Club of Kingborough, temptation won again. My excuse was that
I needed to stop writing and get off the computer for a while.
The sale had moved to Kingborough Community Hub, an easier venue for many. As previously, payment was by the linear centimetre (books on their sides), making it easier too for the volunteers to work out the final cost.
So what did I unearth?
Where is Here? 350 Years of Exploring Australia, edited by Tim Flannery, looks fascinating, especially as so many of its stories are new to me.
Australian Words, and Their Origins was edited by Joan Hughes. That would have been very useful when my family arrived in Australia in 1970.  We spoke English, but only the UK variety.  So many words were different and had different meanings. A list was kept for some while until we were familiar with the Australian ‘language’.
Another hefty tome was Off The Beaten Track – A Guide to 155 Scenic Tours in Australia. There are still a few routes in Tasmania to be explored on our ‘slow trips around’ holidays.
I also picked up numerous back copies of the magazine Tasmania 40° South, including a first edition. Always such a good read.  This is the type of magazine to be dipped into, holding
untold delights.
As I sorted through my purchases, an article in issue 43 (summer 2006/7) titled “Bumblebee – friend or foe” by Elizabeth Daley jumped out.
“This recently arrived exotic brings some immediate economic benefits. At what environmental cost is as yet unclear,” writes Daley.  The debate continues to this day.
Issue 35 of the same magazine contained a beautifully illustrated article by Nick Haddow titled “Changing tastes, 40,000 years of tucker. From roast emu to gourmet cheese.” Haddow writes that the “first French explorers recorded that the native Tasmanians were well fed and their food sources plentiful, although foraging required continual effort”. We have all become familiar with Haddow on TV – especially in programs alongside Matthew Evans.
He has since progressed from a beginning with cheese making to creating a wide range of produce.
You never know what else you might encounter at book fairs. Remastered old films, now on DVD sometimes appear, such as Black Narcissus, originally
a 1948 Academy Award winner. For 20c you can’t go wrong.
There were even audio books on DVDs. My favourite book by Geraldine Brooks, People of the Book, was spotted. If you have never read it in any format it comes highly recommended. It is the story of a rare-book expert who is offered the job of a lifetime. She is asked to oversee the conservation of a very special, very old book, the Sarajevo Haggadah. As she goes about her work, she spots everyday small objects that have been caught in the old bindings: an insect’s wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, and a white hair. All have special meaning in time and place, which are explored through the story.
The blurb reads: “Inspired by
a true story, People of the Book is at once a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity, an an ambitious, electrifying work by an acclaimed and beloved author.
Roll on the next book fair, which will be a time to sort out books no longer needed and recycle them once again.
Marian Hearn

Weed of the month: Spanish heath
Kingborough Council has turned the spotlight on Erica lusitanica (Spanish heath), as its latest weed of the month. Spanish heath is a declared weed under the Biosecurity Act 2019. It is widely distributed within Kingborough.
What does it look like?
Spanish heath is an upright, woody shrub that usually grows to around 2.5m tall, but can reach as tall as 3.5m. It has lots of stiff, narrow leaves. Masses of small white or pale pink, tube-shaped flowers are produced between May and December. Plants will typically carry seeds from September through to March.
Why is it a problem?
Spanish heath is commonly found on degraded pastures, neglected areas, and roadsides. It also invades native vegetation types including wet forest, dry forest, grassland, and riparian areas. It is generally found where there has been some soil disturbance, but it can also invade our more natural places. In agricultural settings Spanish heath can reduce a farm’s productivity, while in native bushland Spanish heath can replace native species. Large areas of Spanish heath also increase fuel loads and add to fire hazards.
How does it spread?
Spanish heath spreads by seed, which is dispersed by wind and water, by slashing, and when soil and mud containing seeds is moved around the landscape by vehicles, machinery or shoes.
Methods of control
By hand Seedlings and small plants can be hand pulled in moist or sandy soil. Take care as plants break off easily and any remaining
roots in the soil will regrow.
Removed plants can be left on site to break down.
Cut stump method Cut stems as low to the ground as possible and paint undiluted Glyphosate herbicide on the stump within 15 seconds.
Foliar spraying  Directly spray the leaves of the plant. This method can be highly effective but it is generally limited to smaller plants and regrowth. Several herbicides work well on Spanish heath, including Metsulfuron-methyl (e.g. Associate), which is practically non-toxic. The addition of a wetting agent, such as Pulse Penetrant, will help the herbicide be absorbed by the plant. For spraying to be effective, all leaves must be covered.
Spanish heath can be confused with some native shrubs. Care should be taken to correctly identify Spanish heath before any control methods are used.
What is being done about the weed?
Weeds that occur all over Kingborough such as Spanish heath require a lot more time and money to control. Therefore, the council aims to ‘contain’ these weeds, which means preventing them from spreading further. In working towards this, the council controls Spanish heath using a number of methods, including cut and paint, targeted spraying and
manual removal.
The council has a Roadside Weed Strategy and has been controlling Spanish heath and other weeds in line with the priorities identified in the strategy. To date, the council has carried out control of Spanish heath on many priority roadsides. More recently, the council developed a Spanish heath containment strategy, which assists with prioritising areas of Spanish heath and outlines specific containment areas across the municipality.
Treating roadsides for all weeds can be difficult due to the many conflicting priorities that come with working in both weed control and road reservations. Other challenges include the varying  flowering and seeding times across multiple weed species that can be present in one location.
If you have concerns about
a particular roadside, the council encourages you to call and discuss the location with the council’s weed officers.
For more information about Spanish heath, visit the Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s website.
Kingborough Council


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