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Communities Environment Program

A project of DECP and their Ecosystem Regeneration Team, funded by the Federal Communities Environment Progam (CEP) after being invited by Dunkley Minister Peta Murphy.


The aims of this project are to:

  • Remove high threat invasive species from the Down's Estate Licensed Area at Down's Estate Seaford.

  • Use natural, non-chemical methods to eradicate weeds including

    • Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus L. agg.)

    • Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides)

    • African Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum)

    • Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) infestations.

  • Educate volunteers about these techniques and involve them in monitoring the effectiveness of these processes in removing and preventing re-emergence of these weeds.

  • Offer Community education of the process and results, to increase environmental benefits in the community, in alignment with Frankston City Council's Greening Frankston program.

  • Incorporate a revegetation area which contributes to the overall weed management strategy by reintroducing appropriate indigenous and native species on site.

These are the invasive weeds we are working to eradicate.

Bridal Creeper

Bridal Creeper



Bridal Creeper Tubers

Bridal Creeper Tubers

Spiny Rush

Spiny Rush





Cape Ivy

Cape Ivy

Spiny Rush Seed Heads

Spiny Rush Seed Heads

To see the complete Weed Management Plan, including templates and Weed Removal PDF, go to Weed Management Plan page



The project in a nutshell:

This project took place during 2020 and 2021.

It involved a number of different groups and individuals including:

  • DECP committee and volunteers

  • DECP Ecosystem Regeneration Team which formed in the second half of 2020

  • PPWCMA (Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority)
    Farm Management Training Work Crew

  • Holmesglen students and teacher Dr Joab Wilson

  • Contractor Abundant Gardens for major works


Holmesglen TAFE

The initial plan to engage a specific contractor to do weed eradication works was not able to be carried out. We talked with local environmental consultant Gidja Walker for alternate providers who recommended Dr Joab Wilson at Holmesglen TAFE to explore collaborative possibilities. This resulted in a good working relationship between DECP and the Holmesglen teacher and his students.


While Covid restrictions permitted, there were many successful site visits by classes from the Conservation and Land Management course, for hands-on experience of weed identification and removal works. They devised management strategies and future revegetation plans for us. This collaboration between volunteers, teachers and students was very productive and greatly appreciated by the DECP community.


​The students also investigated relevant topics culminating in an informative webinar to present detailed visual educational aids to DECP and all the students. Some longer reports were also produced on the weed management project at DECP.  See some of the posters at the bottom of this page.

There is a great ongoing working relationship with this department at Holmesglen TAFE, with measurable mutual benefits. See photo below.


Port PHillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority

We were fortunate to be included in the PPWCMA project to assist local community environmental groups during Covid. Their work team created in-ground weed barriers as part of the works they did on site. They were an enthusiastic group of people, and gave the project much appreciated assistance.

DECP committee and volunteers

Due to Covid we needed to be flexible in our provision of community education on weed management topics. It was not possible to schedule the in-person events including our proposed Open Day. It was decided the most effective way to give the public access to our information and experience was via this website.  These resources can be added to and modified by Best Practice and are available for the community's ongoing use.

The DECP committee managed the design and implementation of this project, volunteering well beyond the intended volunteer administration contribution of 50 hours. Committee members and DECP volunteers were very involved with all the crews and students on site in many ways; welcoming, organising work sessions, making cuppas and conversations, and finding solutions to the many challenges at the time. We were all invested in the success of this project as we recognised the importance of the weed eradication program as a first step to improving the natural environment at the Estate.

Frankston City Council

We liaised with Frankston City Council (FCC) regarding weed eradication and revegetation proposals and sought their advice and approval. We continue to colllaborate with FCC on the large area mowing onsite and beside the shared user path.

Project Contractor

Abundant Gardens is a local garden and site maintenance business which provided the services using equipment such as slashers, large area mowing and also manual removal of large weeds.

A roadworks contractor assisted the project with Boxthorn removal on the road side of the fence.

thank you from decp smile smile smile smile smile (1).png


Special thanks to DECP volunteers, especially John McKenzie, Patrick Bellchambers, Brendan Tairz, Rod Fedley and Ishmael Champion who were fundamental to the success of the project.

Our sincere appreciation and thanks to Joab Wilson and Holmesglen TAFE students for their valuable collaboration and contributions to the ongoing non-chemical weed education in our community.

Thank you Peta Murphy MP for your support and for the invitation to participate in the CEP. (Message of support from Peta to DECP September 2021)

The story in photos:


1.   Holmesglen Conservation and Land Management students signing up for first weeds management workshop


2.   Workshop #2:  students consider weeds problems in market garden intended for organic production


3.  Demonstration of weed method suited to organic Garden area   - solarization and photosynthesis blackout


4  Workshop on snakes in weed habitat for Holmesglen students and DECP volunteers


5. Conservation and Land Management students learn assessment of remnant indigenous species amidst weeds species

6   Students review emergent blackberry problems in disused paddock


7.   PPWCMA farm management trainees install weed barrier for market garden - practical workshop


8.   Almost completed inground timber weed barrier to prevent kikuyu reinfestation into market garden


9.   Session with teacher, students and DECP volunteers, looking southwards on site, before verandah addition to shed.


10.   Friendly local magpie who visits when people are onsite, looking east to Old Wells Rd.


11.   Looking west across the Down's Estate site


12.   Boxthorn in cracked tank, now removed, looking north-west.


13   Looking from the southern boundary towards the tank with Boxthorn and shared user path.

large boxthorn - Downs northern block.jpg

14.   Large Boxthorn in northern block

cutting boxthorn.jpg

15.   Cutting the Boxthorn with electric saw

large boxthorn removed Aug21.jpg

16   Boxthorn on left and cuttings of Boxthorn ready for disposal

cape ivy on Box thorn , Down's sth east corner June21.jpg

17.   Cape Ivy growing over Boxthorn, south-east boundary of site.

Downs with blackberry   dec'20.png

18.   Blackberry infestation in central area of site with buildings in background Dec 2020

Brendan with slasher #3.jpg

19.   Brendan slashing blackberries and kikuyu across the estate

blackberry resurgent in June after April slashing.jpg

20.   Blackberry resurgence in June 2021 after first slashing in April 2021

clive clipping seed heads off Spiny Rush - juncus acutus.jpg

21. Removing seed heads from Spiny Rush

21.   Pruning seed heads off the Spiny Rush

23.   Removing solarisation tarps and mulching before planting

24.   Volunteers and students distributing wood-chip mulch before planting

25.   Students planting at northern end of revegetation area

Educational posters created by Holmesglen TAFE students 2021

Holmsglen DRAFT Poster A4 Dimensions.jpg

22.   Some of the indigenous and native grasses, shrubs and trees to be planted


23.   Students and volunteers removing the solarising tarps, and spreading mulch


24.   Students and volunteers spreading wood-chip mulch. Looking south to the Shed.


25.   Students planting indigenous and native plants into the mulch, looking north


26.   Completed revegetation area with tree guards, looking north.

Holmsglen DRAFT Blackberry poster.jpg
Holmsglen DRAFT An alternative to pesticides - assesment task 3.png

“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.”

                       - John James Audobon

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