This story is written by Anne Gray, a member of the Northern Beaches group.
‘Together with Jane March, I attended the Quarterly Gathering in Kurnell on Saturday 15 May. We arrived about 9.30 at the Visitor Centre at Kamay Botany Bay National Park. We were split up into 4 groups for the 900 m Banks/Solander walk.
We were fortunate to be led by the very knowledgeable John Arney from the Sutherland Group. He had prepared a list of 60 plants to be found on the walk, of which 25 were collected by Banks and Solander in 1770. John had labelled many of the plants along the way and he was also able to show us orchids slightly off the path including Cryptostylis erecta. He had many nuggets of information to impart. He told us that Dodonaea triquetra (Common Hop Bush) was used by the aborigines who chewed the leaves to cure toothache as it has a numbing effect. We saw several arboreal termite nests with birds nests commonly used by the forest kingfisher but also by rainbow lorikeets. We were also encouraged to taste the berries of Smalax glyciphylla (Sweet Sarsparilla) It tasted like bitter liquorice! The loop walk took us about 2 hours to complete.
In the afternoon we were joined by Harry Loots and Lindy Monson. The first talk was by Dan Clarke describing the book ‘Banks’ by Grantlee Kieza (2020) which is definitely one for our library. John Arney then talked about the plants collected and described by Banks and Solander with accompanying photos. He has been on several walks with the Sutherland Group to identify plants that were collected by Banks and Solander. To date they have found 78 species of of 132 species described by Banks and Solander. Not bad, as most of Botany Bay is now covered by suburbs. At the end of the day, a delicious afternoon tea was provided by the Sutherland Group. We thank the group for a very interesting, informative and enjoyable day.’