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Rejuvenating Kingsley Headland

May 2023 Update

Twelve months, two fantastic community events, hard work in between, more than 400 plants, and the Kingsley area of Boat Harbour — the area seaward of the access road to Kingsley Beach carpark — is certainly getting a major face lift visually and its conservation value is being rejuvenated.

Giving a helping hand

The Friends of Tomaree National Park with the local community, answered the call from National Parks and Wildlife Service, concerned about the invasive Chinese Violet that contractors found difficult to manage, as the bitou and lantana that pervaded the area, with an almost impenetrable barrier along the roadside, impacted its effective control.

Bitou Bush
Chinese Violet

April 2022 we, the Friends of Tomaree National Park, embarked on an ambitious program to rehabilitate this area of Kingsley Headland.

Kicking off on two mornings early April 2022, with a total of about 40 Friends and community, we cut away at the most dominant bitou and lantana along the seaward road margin.

Wow, suddenly sea vistas and a rich tapestry of native vegetation behind the bitou wall were revealed. And we planted along the new stairway to Kingsley Beach.

We carefully pulled up Chinese Violet, marking exact location of each plant for future contractor checks. This highly invasive Chinese Violet, a ground dwelling and climbing weed, arrived in Australia at Boat Harbour, and is restricted mainly to Port Stephens. Read more about Chinese Violet.

Inspired by the change

With the progress around Kingsley Headland so visible, more wonderful local community joined up with the Friends of Tomaree National Park, and have continued over these last 12 months to cut bitou throughout the headland and its rocky face. Released from the constricting bitou, a diversity of native plants are reaching their potential.

April 2023 we embarked on our second community event

What a fantastic morning on Saturday 15 April – glorious weather and huge support from our local and neighbouring communities – 33 willing workers in total for the morning. Just magnificent.

We welcomed 11 new bush and coastcarers – ranging from 4 year old Finlay, the wonderful group of 6 or so from Escape EcoAdventures and the Greens (Friends of Tomaree NP is non party political but it is so great to see the group putting words in to action), and another 5 or more local nature-lovers who all contributed to such a successful morning.

Our group also included 19 participants from the National Parks Association and the Friends of Tomaree National Park, some regular, some occasional, some more recent. Some came to the start of Rejuvenating Kingsley Headland just one year ago – others volunteer here or at our other locations too.

Together we cleared the road side small weeds that occupied the space of the previous cleared bitou, and planted local natives that will eventually shade out the weeds.

Collectively we planted just over 400 hardy natives on 7 sites – what an unbelievable achievement!! And over 80% of those plants were grown from very local seeds or cuttings – thank you so much Josephine, the Friends of Tomaree NP team leader at Fishermans Bay. We appreciate your foresight and diligence. And thank you Ngioka for allowing us to grow plants and also share plants with you.

The other 20% of plants were sourced from a local native nursery. It is so good to have plants that are true to the area.

Knobby Club-rush

Half of the plants were locally grown Knobby Club-rush, which will keep its head above most weeds, forming extensive clumps and stabilising the soil, as well as being habitat for lizards, frogs, insects and small birds.

Other plants will shade out the weeds – we just have to manage those weeds long enough for everything to do its thing!

Additionally, we uncovered natives struggling under the invasive buffalo grass, further augmenting the value of our weeding.

EcoPollinators EcoNetwork Port Stephens, provided interesting information about our new plants – see Kingsley THE PLANTING! descriptions.

Where to now for our Kingsley group

Our team, and you’re invited, will monitor and manage what we have started and keep extending.

  • We need to keep the small weeds away from the new plants until they grow and in turn shade the weeds.
  • We need to tackle the buffalo grass.
  • Most importantly, we check the site for new bitou seedlings – it takes 5-7 years to exhaust the seed store in the ground. However we only need to check and remove new recruits each 6-9 months to prevent any flowering bitou from fruiting and setting seed.
  • Then there’s large bitou on the landward side of the road to clear.
  • Or we can follow the Tomaree Coastal Walk, helping NPWS after their spraying, to prevent new seedlings from setting seed and cutting out any large bitou not quite killed. Take your pick, move southward toward little Kingsley or northward to Boat Harbour and One Mile.

Our efforts rejuvenating after bitou is happening across Tomaree NP — come along! 

The Friends of Tomaree National Park has active groups elsewhere too, who are also doing great work in Tomaree.

  • Our North Tomaree group at Zenith Beach / Tomaree summit has managed a massive area of mostly bitou over the last 2.5 years. That’s another story to explore.
  • Our South Tomaree group at Fishermans Bay has worked northward from the boat ramp along the slopes, southwars on the headland, and has now started moving southward on the Tomaree Coastal Walk
  • Special interest groups, such as climbers have held a CragCare activity near a favourite climbing Crag at Fingal / Boulder Bay

We’d love you to join us, whether regularly or casually at one or more of our locations. Read more about the Friends of Tomaree National Park, or find out about our workbee dates and locations. Or just email Sue at for information and what’s happening.

March 2022 Update

National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger, Jim Cutler (front), talking with some of the Tomaree friends. Photo © FoTNP.

You’re invited to help Rejuvenate Kingsley Headland at Boat Harbour with the Friends of Tomaree National Park. Come for one or both mornings, on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th April. Book now to reserve your place.

The headland is not only a scenic location, but is rich with native plants, though Bitou Bush has invaded some areas. While National Parks and Wildlife Service will treat larger stands a couple of weeks prior, the Friends of Tomaree and interested community will work on Bitou that’s interspersed with native plants. 

“Our role in following up on the smaller plants and those mixed with the native plants weeks after broader treatment, helps ensure Bitou does not rapidly overtake the site again,” said Friends of Tomaree co-coordinator,” Josephine O’Brien. 

Participants do not need prior knowledge to make a worthwhile and appreciated contribution.

“A briefing at the start will ensure everyone knows the target weeds and easily confused native plants. There will also be some experienced Friends of Tomaree on hand to help,” said Ms O’Brien.

Check out Bitou and the native plants easily confused on this fact sheet.

As well as Bitou, we’ll be marking the location of any Chinese Violet we see, a highly invasive ground dwelling and climbing weed which arrived in Australia at Boat Harbour, and is restricted mainly to Port Stephens. Read more about Chinese Violet.

Bitou Bush
Chinese Violet

This is a great opportunity to help repair environmental damage on the site, not only in removing highly invasive weeds, but also planting in the vicinity.

And what better way to meet up with other caring people, outdoors in a safe airy environment, and enjoy a morning tea (supplied). 

You can read more about the coastal native plants and invasive weeds. It’s a growing work in progress.

The ‘Rejuvenate Kingsley Headland‘ event is supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Hunter Region Landcare Network and Hunter Local Land Services also support the event through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL at where there’s a program and more information. Or if you have any queries, please contact Sue, Friends of Tomaree National Park co-coordinator at

Published: 20 Mar 2022