Brisbane Waters Secondary College “Bushcraft and Special ED Units”

Brisbane Waters (Rileys Island, west bank and Pelican Island) on 10th February 2012

The mission for the day was to monitor, remove and report issues relating to unwanted litter from the Brisbane Waters area. The student, and teaching staff, walked from their school, to the commencement point at the boat ramp, in Woy Woy channel. Following a brief induction, including safety requirements, needed for the days, all participants were transported, by barge and IRB to the western side Rileys Island.

The vast volume of rubbish, immediately greeted the students, with disused oyster products, tyres, and loaded bags of litter , quickly transported to the barges. The high tide allowed the barges to be positioned just outside the mangroves, with multiple trips, completed from the foreshore, by the students, carrying their collected litter. A small group moved inland, onto the dry land, also retrieving rubbish, mainly plastic, with another moving to the southern tip of the Island. Mr Ruzek moved north, with a group, re-covering an area of foreshore, cleaned two weeks previous, again recovering litter.

The balance of the group completed the litter removal, and addressed the presence of large amounts of hardwood timber, laying in a shallow trough, just off the mangroves. This timber was effecting the growth of mangroves, and saltmarsh plants. Two large piles of timber were stacked, allowing drying and removal at a later date. All the rubbish collected came from a 400metre section of foreshore, that has now seen three activities, to completed the task.

The entire group, then assembled, and with all present, moved to attempt a quick clean-up of the northern end of the Island near Saratoga Channel. Extensive mangroves prevented this, with an alternate site on the southern and eastern foreshores of Pelican Island cleaned. Again, plenty of plastic, with oyster products on the north eastern side. By noon the vessels returned to the boat ramp, with student given some ‘fun time” in the IRB’s, and enjoying their first break from the clean-up task.

National Parks arrive with news that their tip truck was unavailable, and completed three trips to Woy Woy tip, utilizing a large trailer.

The students received a debrief, from the coordinators, all thanking the efforts, and positive support given by the oyster growers, Simon Funnel and Warren Harvey, who donated their time and equipment for the program.

Both committed to further foreshore work on Brisbane Waters, with their craft, capable of moving large numbers, on the water. Mr Funnel’s current grant covered the fuel and hire for their barges.

The enthusiasm and willingness of the student, to complete this tedious and difficult task, in wet uncomfortable conditions, has to be applauded. All adults present agreed that the success of the day, was due to the smooth operations of the entire group. As coordinator, a fun, proactive day was achieved, with outstanding environmental outcomes achieved, for the native plant and animal life on Rileys Island

A total of 1.64 tonne of rubbish was removed to Woy Woy tip by National Parks, plus 14 tyres.

This, combined with the two previous activities, in January, has seen close to three tonne of rubbish removed, with further still to come.


  • Further activities be completed with the Brisbane Water Oyster Growers
  • Additional funding be obtained, to allow future activities, with community and youth organization, on the clean-up of Brisbane Waters
  • That stake holder monitor more closely, deposited, or wash in litter, into Brisbane Waters
  • That the disused or misplace oyster products, found by our groups, within the mangroves, be more closely monitored by stakeholder, growers and the oyster industry.

Graham Johnston: 041184642


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