Makeover for Geraldton’s ‘Rum Jungle’

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Heather Beswick and City of Greater Geraldton environmental planning officer Erin O’Connor survey the rubbish dumped at Rum Jungle, a block of bushland in Glenfield.
Camera IconHeather Beswick and City of Greater Geraldton environmental planning officer Erin O’Connor survey the rubbish dumped at Rum Jungle, a block of bushland in Glenfield. Credit: The Midwest Times, Peter Sweeney

Every time Drummond Cove resident Heather Beswick walks through the back of Rum Jungle — a block of bushland in Glenfield — she is appalled by the state it is in.

For years, the triangular strip of land on the west side of Chapman Road, south of Macedonia Drive, has been overrun with invasive African boxthorn plants and used as an illegal dumping ground.

“It was pretty awful with all the rubbish,” she said.

“I’ve seen old rusted bits of machinery, whitegoods, garden refuse.

“It seems to be an area people think they can dump rubbish which is illegal and not good for the environment.”

Instead of airing her grievances on social media, Ms Beswick decided to take action and approached the City of Greater Geraldton, voicing the community’s desire to clean up the bushland.

In a partnership between the City of Greater Geraldton and local community, Rum Jungle will be cleaned up and restored.
Camera IconIn a partnership between the City of Greater Geraldton and local community, Rum Jungle will be cleaned up and restored. Credit: City of Greater Geraldton

The City agreed to support the grassroots project, which is registered with the Keep Australia Beautiful Adopt-A-Spot program.

Work has already started to remove invasive plants, with further efforts to restore the block expected over the coming months.

“I was rapt the City has come on board, I’m really impressed,” Ms Beswick said.

“We’re only doing a small section that’s owned by the City but the rest is privately owned. Hoping it’ll have a flow-on effect and at the end of the day, it’s about education and raising awareness.

Drummond Cove resident Heather Beswick and City of Greater Geraldton Environmental Planning Officer Erin O'Connor walk through Rum Jungle in Glenfield, looking at what work needs to be done to restore the bushland.
Camera IconDrummond Cove resident Heather Beswick and City of Greater Geraldton Environmental Planning Officer Erin O'Connor walk through Rum Jungle in Glenfield, looking at what work needs to be done to restore the bushland. Credit: Peter Sweeney The Midwest Times

“Illegal dumping is a problem throughout the whole City, but if we can make people aware there’s eyes and ears out there, hopefully that will reduce the problem.

“We’ve only got one natural environment and we’ve got to look after it; not just for us but the future generations and the creatures we share it with.”

The first stage of the clean-up started on Monday and was expected to take around six days to complete.

At the end of summer, a hands-on removal of the remaining rubbish will take place.

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