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Boroondara Progress Leader 23 November 2010 by Holly McKay

Billabong bunyipALL it took was one man with a vision to bring a billabong in Kew back to life.

Three years ago Stanley Barker was riding his bike along the Yarra River, near Burke Rd, when he came across the abandoned and weed-ridden billabong.

The 64-year-old said it looked "totally unloved" and decided to put a plan into action.

"I knew what it could look like, given a bit of work."

Mr Barker has teamed up with the Department of Sustainability and Environment and set up a Committee of Management which oversees the area.

Mr Barker, who also has a diploma of conservation and land management, volunteers at the 10 hectare property once a week and sets aside time once a month to work with other volunteers.

Since then close to 2000 natives have been planted, creating a prime area for owls, parrots, possums and frogs, Mr Barker said.

But he said a lack of volunteers meant restoring the area would take longer.

"Volunteering at the billabong gives you a sense of ownership, you learn about local indigenous plants and have a hand in creating something beautiful."

To volunteer: phone 9890 5092, 0403 419 565 or email "barker_sv at yahoo.com.au" (change 'at' to '@').

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12 March 2013 Page 9