After more than half a century’s work, the restoration of Hamilton’s AJ Seeley Gully Reserve is nearly complete, with an access track to be opened this weekend and coinciding with Conservation Week.
The reserve, which is nestled between Armagh Street and Whyte Street in Claudelands, is one of Hamilton’s hidden ecological gems, having been extensively restored by retired Hamilton doctor Alwyn Seeley, Hamilton City Council, and dozens of volunteers.
On Sunday, 9 September, a new 600-metre track in the reserve will be opened, the final phase of a 50-year restoration project started by Dr Seeley when he first bought the land. In 2004 he gifted the 2.2 hectare reserve to the city, and over the last two years Council has increased its involvement in the project, removing trees and pest plants, and working alongside volunteers and school students to plant hundreds of native trees and shrubs. Other than a few areas where additional planting is required, the restoration of the gully is largely complete, with Council investing $80,000 in plantings and the walkway.
“The gully is a great example of how one person’s efforts to restore a gully in our city,” says Gerard Kelly, Hamilton City Council’s Community Planting Co-ordinator.
“Hamilton is fortunate to benefit from Dr Seeley’s decades of effort, and Council is proud to have worked alongside him over the last few years.”
Dr Seeley says: “I’m thrilled with the recent improvements to the track, which will cap off my 60 years of enhancing this area of native bush. The tui we’ve been hoping for over the last 60 years will be there singing in trees.”
The track opening event includes a tour of the reserve and talks from Council staff who have been involved in the project. The event begins at 11am, with access to the reserve from Armagh Street.