Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hunting in National Parks - will you be safe in your local Park?

Dear Mr O’Farrell
I am disgusted by your behaviour in selling-out the National Parks of NSW to advantage your own political position.
Barry O'Farrell - laughing.

Mr O'Farrell, I would remind you that National Parks are for conservation, the very antithesis of hunting.

I spend many days per year in Morton National Park – a wonderful resource, full of endangered species, which I strive to record, as a  local Naturalist.
I regret that you have thrown out your personal credibility (a scarce resource amongst politicians these days) in order to support a policy for which you do not have a Mandate anyway (privatisation of Electricity Supply).
Mostly I object to the loss of a sense of safety within a National Park.
How will I know if shooters are present, across a valley from where I might be walking, in the Morton National Park, for example?
Should I wear body armour? 

Bullet Proof Vests
  • Before the Shooters Party people tell you that my reaction is hysterical – I know that many shots miss their targets, or ricochet.
  • Even the Australian Military close their shooting ranges to protect the public from accidental shooting.
  • Have you heard of "collateral damage". I do not want to be a "statistic", thank you very much.
 More generally, this is a betrayal – that is what upsets me most.
Kindly reply to this email.

Denis Wilson
Robertson NSW 2577

Questions which remain un-answered (in my mind). 
If there is hunting organised on a particular day, for example in Morton National Park, what will be done to advise the public?
Morton National Park - map
Some parks are within areas where the local media is not covered by a particular Media service (e.g.. not one local Newspaper or radio service covers the entire Park).
Will they close the Park?
If so, how will they notify the public?

For example, will they close the Morton National Park in its entirety?
How will they notify people entering Morton National Park from the south-east side, via Budgong Creek Fire Trail, (going to Tallowa Dam from Nowra), when the hunters might be operating 50 Km away, on Meryla Pass Fire trail? Or further afield, south from Bundanoon? 

What about local traffic going past Belmore Falls, from Robertson to Burrawang? Technically those roads are public roads, not NPWS roads, yet they pass within the Morton National Park.
Would I be safe as long as I stay within my vehicle?

What about tourist visitors accessing Manning Lookout?
What about the safety of residents living within National Parks (excised areas)?
Or people who live adjacent to National Parks?
Will they close the Nowra- Moss Vale Road, which is a major arterial road, with immense economic significance to the Region? It passes through the Morton National Park.
The same applies to Main Road 92 - the link from Canberra to Nowra.
Ask Joanna Gash MP, Federal member for Gilmore how important that road is.

Surely closing the entire Park would be considered un-necessary, yet, there are numerous foot trails linking the top and the bottom of this enormous (and beautiful) Park.

Exactly how will this scheme operate? 

Barry O’Farrell MP Andrew Stoner MP
NSW Premier Deputy Premier
Minister for Western Sydney Minister for Trade and Investment
Minister for Regional Infrastructure
& Services
Wednesday 30 May 2012

The State’s program of feral animal control in national parks will be extended to allow licensed shooters to cull pests including pigs, dogs, cats and goats in a limited number of areas under strict conditions.

Amendments to the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 will mean the feral animal eradication program will be extended in 79 of the State’s 799 national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas.
Shooting of feral animals will not be permitted in or near metropolitan areas, or in any wilderness area or world heritage area including Blue Mountains National Park.

Premier Barry O’Farrell said the Minister for the Environment would have ultimate control over where, when and how volunteer pest shooting took place.

Anyone applying to cull in one of the designated areas would require written permission, have to be licensed by the Game Council, have undertaken adequate training, and comply with the access conditions established by the Minister for the Environment.

“Culling of feral animals in our national parks, including the Royal National Park, occurs already,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“At least 24,000 feral pigs, dogs, goats, foxes, cats, rabbits and deer were destroyed in national parks in 2010-11.
“This is a logical extension of an existing policy - a sensible measure to remove these pests which damage habitat, kill native animals, kill stock, rob stock of feed and damage crops across the State.”

Protections for native animals remain in force, with fines of up to $220,000 for harming a threatened species.

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said feral animals were a scourge on farming, estimated to cost NSW agriculture $70 million a year.

“This is a sensible step that will give native fauna and our farmers better protection from feral animals,” Mr Stoner said.

“Farmers do it tough enough without also having feral animals destroying their crops and livestock.

“This will also help prevent feral animals from displacing native species through predation and competition, and from devastating threatened vegetation by grazing and trampling.”

Mr O’Farrell said the amendments would expand eradication programs in around 10 per cent of the State’s national parks.

He said the Government had decided to expand the culling program to allow smooth passage of legislation to sell the State’s power generators (see separate release).

Mr O’Farrell said other animals able to be culled include rabbits, hares, foxes and deer.

Parks and reserves with areas for immediate consideration for volunteer pest control

National Parks
Central NSW
Abercrombie River National Park
Turon National Park
Coolah Tops National Park
Warrumbungle National Park
Goulburn River National Park
New England Tablelands
Bald Rock National Park
Nowendoc National Park
Basket Swamp National Park
Piliga East National Park........ (sic)
Boonoo National Park
Piliga West National Park
........ (sic)
Gibraltar Range National Park
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
South Coast and Highlands
Benambra National Park
Tallaganda National Park
Brindabella National Park
Woomargama National Park
Kosciuszko National Park (excluding ski fields)
Morton National Park
Wadbilliga National Park
South East Forests National Park
Outback NSW
Goonoo National Park
Paroo-Darling National Park
Gundabooka National Park
Yanga National Park
Mallee Cliffs National Park
Murray Valley National Park
Northern Rivers
Yabbra National Park
Nightcap National Park
Richmond Range National Park
Hunter/Mid North Coast
Dorrigo National Park
Watagans National Park
Myall Lakes National Park
Barrington Tops National Park
Nature Reserves
Central NSW
Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve
Pilliga Nature Reserve
New England Tablelands
Gibraltar Nature Reserve
Outback NSW
Big Bush Nature Reserve
Lake Urana Nature Reserve
Boginderra Hills Nature Reserve
Langtree Nature Reserve
Buddigower Nature Reserve
Ledknapper Nature Reserve
Cocopara Nature Reserve
Loughnan Nature Reserve
Coolbadggie Nature Reserve
Narrandera Nature Reserve
Goonawarra Nature Reserve
Nearie Lake Nature Reserve
Gubbata Nature Reserve
Nocoleche Nature Reserve
Ingalba Nature Reserve
Nombinnie Nature Reserve
Jerilderie Nature Reserve
Piliga Nature Reserve....... (sic)
Kajuligah Nature Reserve
Pucawan Nature Reserve
Kemendok Nature Reserve
Pulletop Nature Reserve
Round Hill Nature Reserve
Quanda Nature Reserve
Tarawi Nature Reserve
Yanga Nature Reserve
The Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve
Yathong Nature Reserve
State Conservation Areas
Central NSW
Mullion Range SCA
Mount Canobolas SCA
Hunter/ Mid North Coast
Barrington Tops SCA
New England Tablelands
Butterleaf SCA
Torrington SCA
Cataract SCA
Watsons Creek SCA
Mount Hyland SCA
Werrikimbe SCA
Outback NSW
Goonoon SCA
Paroo-Darling SCA
Gundabooka SCA
Yanga SCA
Nombinnie SCA
MEDIA: Brad Burden or Cameron Hamilton 9228 5239 (Premier) or
Lis Davies 9228 5209 (Deputy Premier)

PS: If they cannot spell Pilliga (National Park and or Nature Reserve) then they ought not be entitled to list if for hunting.
That why I have listed "Piliga..... (sic)"
How stupid are these people?
It is one of the most famous National Parks and Nature Reserves in NSW.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Diagonally sloping cloud of mist

I have never seen a local cloud of mist behave like this before.

Fog over Hampden Park at Soccer Training night
For some strange reason the fog on the left hand side of the park is very low - waist high or less.
In the middle of the Park it has risen over the girls heads, to about 3 or 4 metres.

Very strange, but it made for a nice atmosphere, and the Football (Soccer) training was going ahead, very successfully.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Some Ferns of the Robertson Nature Reserve


Arthropteris tenella   Rhizome very long-creeping, rigid, to 6 mm diam., densely covered with brown scales. Sori ± circular, indusium absent. 

Arthropteris tenella growing
on Sassafras trunk in
Robertson Nature Reserve.
Click on close-up images to see structural details of structure of the fronds of these ferns, the venation and sporangia.

Some Fern terminology from the PlantNET Glossary:
sporangium: a structure in which spores are formed. pl. sporangia.
sorus: a discrete aggregate of sporangia in ferns. pl. sori

stipe: the petiole of a fern frond.
lamina: an expanded portion of a leaf or petal. pl. laminas.

pinna: a primary segment of the lamina of a compound leaf. pl. pinnae.
pinnule: a leaflet of a bipinnate leaf. pl. pinnules.
rachis: the axis of a pinnate leaf, 
                         or of a pinna in a bipinnate leaf.
petiole: the stalk of a leaf. adj. petiolate. 
alternate: of leaves or flowers, inserted singly at different levels
along the branches
opposite: inserted at the same level, 

(as in, leaves on the opposite side of the stem).  

Arthropteris tenella

Upper view of leaf frond
Arthropteris tenella

Note: each pinnule ("leaflet) is on its own petiole (stem).

Underneath of leaf front.
Spore sori clearly visible
(click to enlarge image)
Arthropteris tenella

Botanical illustration courtesy of PlantNET
Arthropteris tenella

Illustration appears to show the pinnae as "opposite"
In fact they are not arranged that way, but are "alternate".

Friday, May 25, 2012

Swarms of Swift Moths - on a wet night

On Thursday evening it had been raining in Robertson, and I had been away in Wollongong. When I returned I found my front verandah festooned with Swift Moths.
Swift Moths waiting for me to let them inside
Oxycanus dirempta

Even more Swift Moths on my screen door.
Oxycanus dirempta
I took a few images, and then came inside.
I opened my Computer and found an email from Martin Butterfield to say that he had "several hundred Swift Moths at our place tonight" (Martin is at Carwoola, NSW - somewhere in that district anyway, I believe).

My point is that my experience is not confined to Robertson. Cold weather and moderate rainfall (confirmed by this map) do seem to bring these Swift Moths out.

I have certainly noted their appearance being linked to wet nights previously - co-incidentally it was in the same season, (on 21 May - albeit in a previous year).
A mottled pattern on the wings of this one
Oxycanus dirempta

Strong silver lines on this Swift Moth
Oxycanus dirempta

A combined mottled pattern and vertical lines
Oxycanus dirempta.
Two contrasting wing patterns
on some of the Swift Moths.
Oxycanus dirempta

Several years ago I sent images to Donald Hobern who was at that stage in CSIRO, Canberra, at the Australian National Insect Collection.
Donald told me: "Just checked in ANIC. Based on the specimens there, Oxycanus australis is relatively consistent in appearance (like the image I forwarded earlier), whereas O. dirempta covers the diversity of all your photos - including some exceptionally close to the most highly patterned ones you show. I would therefore say that the likely identification is O. dirempta."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arrival of the Daleks in Robertson - Updated

Daleks have arrived in Robertson.
Dalek Eggs
Its all right, though Folks. 
These are still in their "egg casings" and have not yet hatched.
But I suspect it will not be long.

The Dalek Eggs are still inside their Egg Sacs,
and have not yet escaped.
However, if you hear the Cry "EXTERMINATE" you ought not leave the safety of your house. Gather your loved ones and pets around yourself, and hope they leave you alone.

Do not ring the Council, as Council invited these Aliens here.


An explanation is warranted.
These tanks will be the individual collection tanks and pumping systems for the Robertson Sewerage Scheme.
A massively over-engineered system (or "over-engineered in order to cope with bad planning decisions in the first step"), complete with a centralised treatment plant located on top of a hill above the Village.
Yes we will be "pushing shit up hill".
Isn't there an aphorism about that?
Enough said.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A follow-up re "disjunct populations" and climate change

You may recall my post last week about the Olearia ramosissima - a small Daisy with a "disjunct population' - split by the desertification of the Nullabor Plain (presumably as a result of naturally-occurring climate change).

I subsequently wrote an article for the local REPS (Robertson Environment Protection Society). 

  • This species has a “disjunct distribution” - split between Western Australia (Esperance region) and northern NSW, but with a couple of outlying records, including one, crucially from Shoalhaven Gorge. That links the known range of his plant directly with where I found it, about 30 Kms further down river from the Shoalhaven Gorge. 
  • Distribution Map from Atlas of Living Australia
    Olearia ramosissima
  • The distribution map for this species reminds me of several other Australian organisms which have disjunct distributions.  When I was growing up in Melbourne (a long-time ago) I was introduced to the wonderful world of Australian birds courtesy of Neville W Cayley’s “What Bird is That?”. In birding circles, the classic cases of disjunct populations like this are the Eastern and Western Spinebill, and the Eastern and Western Bristlebird. But there are other examples, such as the various species of white-tailed Black-Cockatoos in Western Australia. It is accepted that these birds have speciated away from their cousins in the east of Australia (or possibly it is the other way around) because the eastern and western populations of those birds are considered to have been separated by habitat changes. This was always explained to me in terms of the pre-historical drying of the Australian continent, resulting in similar members of a family of animals becoming separated because of the intrusion of the arid zone of Central Australia into the middle of their presumed original continuous range across southern Australian.  
  • My image of Eastern Spinebill on Grevillea
    Keith Lightbody's photo of Western Spinebill (Wikipedia)
  • So, I cannot help speculating that the distribution of this plant is an example of long-standing Climate Change. Before my comments are misinterpreted as an argument against the current “climate change” argument, I mean no such thing. 
  • Clearly speciation of plants and animals with disjunct ranges such as this has occurred over a lengthy period of time. But that is no reason why mankind ought to alter the global climate by deliberate pollution of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other chemicals.
On the issue of climatic changes and speciation I have found this article in the Canberra Times.
It includes these comments:
  •  Edwards explains that when isolated populations of birds form in a landscape, one of the first traits to change is song - ''just like geographical differences in human language''. Over the past decade, he's been studying genetic divergence in bird populations across the Gulf country's savanna in north-west Queensland. There's a region known as the Carpentarian Barrier - ''a line running south from the Gulf through Normantown (sic***)'' - which appears to mark an evolutionary population divergence for a number of species, including grass finches, wrens and treecreepers.
    ''It's intriguing, because if you drive across it, there aren't immediately visible differences,'' he says. ''It's more open, there are fewer trees and the vegetation on either side looks quite similar. It's very subtle, nothing that would shout out at you, 'Things cannot pass through this barrier!' ''
    ''There are some possible culprits, such as desertification, that may have caused genetic paths to diverge. It's possible sea levels may have risen and fallen and that may have served to isolate populations.''
    Using DNA samples, Edwards and research colleagues can measure genetic differences on both sides of the barrier. They can also establish if populations diverged at around the same time, or if successive waves of genetic divergence occurred. The value of this research lies in mapping the genetic geography of Australia's biodiversity, he says.
    ''It's the geography of genetic diversity. There's a lot of interest in maintaining biodiversity, particularly given the impacts of climate change, and one of the goals of conservation is to preserve areas of habitat that have a high level of genetic diversity…
    ''There's also a growing interest in - and it's a heady concept - of preserving evolutionary processes, and setting aside areas where evolution is proceeding rapidly. So that's where phylo-geography can be beneficial, in mapping areas of genetic divergence.''
    The perspective on conservation is changing, he says. Last century, writers like Aldo Leopold were ''ruminating on the importance of species'' and the need to preserve ecosystems as nature reserves.
    ''Now, the question has shifted to how do we keep these ecosystems functioning? How do we mange them against the onslaught of invasive species and climate change, and maintain their diversity, fertility and ecosystem function?
    ''We've lost the preservationist battle. It's no longer a viable option to try to restore these places to what they once were, because every habitat has experienced some sort of insult. We have already gone too far.''
  • *** My Northern Australian correspondent, Brigid, wishes to correct the spelling of "Normanton". She has also raised other interesting geographical questions which I cannot answer. I shall refer the questions to Canberra ornithologists who  might be in contact with

There is much to think about in Roslyn Beeby's article (linked above).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Robin Gibb's pure voice is wonderful to listen to.

 Robin Gibb's pure voice is just wonderful to listen to today.
And his lyrics were prescient.

I started a joke
Which started the whole world crying
But I didn't see
That the joke was on me, oh no

I started to cry
Which started the whole world laughing
Oh, if I'd only seen
That the joke was on me

I looked at the skies
Running my hands over my eyes
And I fell out of bed
Hurting my head from things that I'd said

Till I finally died
Which started the whole world living
Oh, if I'd only seen
That the joke was on me

Oh, if I'd only seen, oh yeah
That the joke was on me, oh no
That the joke was on me, ohh

This live version is very good, and clean in sound, and doesn't have annoying text all over it as many tributes do today.


Here is a video tribute prepared by Barry Gibb (apparently). It is called "Bodding" a childhood nickname for Robin Gibb.

Read more about this tribute on Huffington Post
Thanks to Brigid for these links.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quiet times inside the Robertson Nature Reserve

Yesterday afternoon I took a half-hour (or so) to capture some images within the Robertson Nature Reserve, as the light was favourable.

Lovely shafts of bright light penetrate the dense Rainforest Canopy, in places, and then might illuminate just one feature, such as a clump of moss growing on a vine, heading up through the trees. 
Moss on Vine stem, illuminated by a shaft of light
When a single shaft of light illuminates an otherwise seemingly insignificant feature on Nature, like this, you can then realise how beautiful the entire Reserve is, IF ONLY WE COULD ALL LEARN TO APPRECIATE ITS FEATURES.

Entrance to the Robertson Nature Reserve

One of the useful explanatory signs
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first report of
the Tangle Orchid, (Plectorrhiza tridentata) growing in the Robertson Nature Reserve,
although it is reported elsewhere in the district.
It is classed as a "Twig Epiphyte"
usually growing on small branches or low to medium shrubs.

Defying Gravity?
Here you can see it hanging from its roots
which have grown into the bark of the tree above.
These flimsy attachments are in fact quite sturdy
and their flexibility gives them surprising resilience.

Defying Gravity?
Tangle-root Orchid (Plectorrhiza tridentata)

Open ground, covered with ferns.
Young vines scrambling up towards the light
The dark brown, fibrous Tree Fern trunk, embedded in the trunk of the Possumwood is all that remains to reveal the origins of the Possumwood. 
A Tree Fern trunk once formed a "seed bed" for a seedling of a Possumwood.
Quintinia sieberi
The Possumwood roots then grew down to the ground and having arrived at a rich nutrient source, then grow strong, and eventually took over and out-competed the Tree Fern.

The Possumwood bark is distinctively knobbly and is a blue-green colour.
That distinctive colour comes from algae which like to grow on certain rainforest tree trunks.
Dark brown trunk of a dead Tree Fern
reveals the origins of the Possumwood Tree.
Another epiphytic Orchid, Dockrillia pugioniformis
Dagger Orchid (named for the shape of the leaves)
Kangaroo Ferns growing up along
a leaning trunk of a tree.
A colony of small Fungi growing out of
a moss-covered log, on the ground.

Even small trees like this can have hollows
which are habitat for native animals.
One evening I came face to face with
a "Bush Rat" inside this hollow tree trunk.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Robertson Project Space opens with Enrique del Val

Today Carlos Barrios's new gallery space "Robertson Project Space" was launched in style, with an exhibition of works by Enrique del Val (courtesy of Maunsell Wickes gallery).

Ben Quilty did the honours, very nicely, with a simple speech welcoming people and commending Carlos for his enthusiasm and his generosity in arranging this event, in conjunction with Enrique del Val. John Olsen was present and also spoke briefly about the vibrant art scene which is developing in and around Robertson. Anne Judell another award-winning Robertson artist was also present, as were many other local artists from Robertson, the Highlands and some from the South Coast, as well as visiting artists from Sydney.

As the event was very informal and relaxed, I decided not to intrude on the atmosphere, by taking snaps of the people at the Launch. Its not fair to snap people chatting, drinking, laughing, admiring the artworks on the wall, pensively or otherwise. Those moments ought be private and relaxed.

However I managed to persuade Enrique to pose in front of his self-portrait, at the Robertson Project Space.
The eyes are a clue, I think you will agree.
Enrique del Val with his self-portrait.
Enrique's exhibition is called (and I quote) "This Fucking Wonderful Thing Life".
You may view some of these artworks via his website, by clicking on this link.

The exhibition at the Robertson Project Space runs from 19 May to 10 June, at 31 Hoddle Street, Robertson, NSW.
Open by appointment ph: 0432 174 344
email: lutxaster (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tremella mesenterica - the Golden Jelly Fungus

This small Jelly Fungus was growing on a fallen trunk of a Melaleuca sapling in a wet thicket, beside a stream, along Belmore Falls Road. This thicket is an interesting area, for all sorts of thing, from Orchids to Fungi.
Tremella mesenterica - Golden Jelly Fungus.
There is a creek which flows through this thicket, and in places, after rain, the whole area can be flooded. The leaf-litter from the Melaleuca saplings is very deep, and in some areas it supports growths of Sphagnum Moss. In other areas, the ground is more or less bare, but it is very dark in there. A variety of Orchid species live in their own specific niche habitats in there, depending upon the available light, the moisture content, and of course, the seasonal conditions.
Habitat within the Meleleuca thicket
is a flooded slow-moving stream
over deep spongy leaf-litter
The area was very wet, on 8 May when I found this fungus Tremella mesenterica. Generally speaking, Jelly Fungi are advantaged by wet conditions, otherwise they tend to dry and shrivel, though they can reconstitute themselves when moisture levels return to higher levels.

You may read more about this cosmopolitan fungus here:
and here:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lower Shoalhaven record for Olearia ramosissima.

Two weeks ago I was with Alan Stephenson, looking for Orchids in the Lower Kangaroo Valley area (Three Views Track). I noticed a small, twiggy sub-shrub (about 30 cm high), with small blue daisy-like flowers.

Separate florets within the Olearia ramosissima "capitulum".
My first impression was it was a "daisy", but it appeared to lack the usual arrangement of "ray florets" (which it does have, clearly) and the normal cluster of minute fertile "disc florets" as we are all familiar with in classic and common "Daisy flowers". This plant has about 8 moderately large "florets" in the centre. In Botanical terminology the entire floral structure of Asteraceae plants is called a "capitulum" ***. My friend Kirsten had previously suggested Brunonia as a possible ID. That made good sense, to me, as the classic flower structure of that genus looks right - especially the individual flowers (disc florets) shown at the bottom of the illustration.

Brunonia australis - Ferdinand Bauer Illustration (ANBG)
But I kept saying but mine does not have the minute "disc florets" of a classic Daisy. Kirsten's reply was (as usual) :"Its not that simple. Some do, some don't". She's normally correct with these Oracular proclamations. And so it has come to pass, in this case.
The "flower" is close to the Bauer illustration, but not the plant structure.

Classic daisy flower illustration of Ray and Disc Florets
 The stems were very rough, almost warty. Hardly any proper leaves at all. It was what I have described as a twiggy sub-shrub with warty protrusions.
I took a couple of photos, but they were not really clear enough to allow a proper ID. So a week later I went back again, in search of this little plant, and managed to find it again (fortunately).

My Facebook colleague Robyn who works at the Atlas of Living Australia agreed to help, by contacting the relevant experts at the Australian National Herbarium. it is great to have contacts in the right places.

Today I received the following message from Anna of the Australian National Herbarium (Canberra).
In fact, the distribution of this species is even more weird than Anna suggested, as it has a split distribution between Western Australia (Esperance region) and northern NSW, but with a couple of outlying records, including one, crucially from Shoalhaven Gorge. That links the known range of his plant directly with the location where I found it.
Incidentally, the West Australian "Florabase" records show a "common name" of "Much-branched Daisy Bush". That fits with my impression of a "twiggy sub-shrub with daisy-like flowers"
The distribution map for this species reminds me of several other Australian organisms which have disjunct distributions -  a factor which was always explained in terms of the prehistorical drying of the Australian continent resulting in similar members of a family of animals becoming separated because of the extension of the arid zone in the middle of their original range.

In birding circles, the classic cases are the Western Spinebill and the Western Bristlebird. But there are many other examples, such as the various species of Black-Cockatoos in Western Australia, which have speciated away from their cousins in the east of Australia (or is it the other way around?) An old example of speciation being caused by long-standing Climate Change.

Anyway, back to the specific features of this plant,
as described by the various authorities.

My second photo of the "capitulum" of the Olearia ramosissima 
And now to the most troubling feature, for me:  the strange "leaves":
  • PlantNET says: "Leaves alternate, densely crowded; lamina elliptic or obovate or triangular, 0.5–5 mm long, 0.3–2 mm wide; apex acute or rounded, without a mucro; margins entire, strongly revolute; surfaces discolorous, upper surface minutely tuberculate, lower surface grey-woolly; venation indistinct; sessile or subsessile".
  • You may check any terms which trouble you on the PlantNET glossary.
The bit it does not appear to say is that the leaves appear to be growing in tiny "rosettes" from nodes along the stem - some pointing upwards (along the stem) others pointing sideways, and some facing backwards. (That is definite "Layman's speak" for what I see in front of me.). But it does refer to the "warty surface" I had noted ("tuberculate").

Click to enlarge this image.
Leaves of Olearia ramosissima
Compare the "leaves" with
this image by Murray Fagg, at the ANBG
 This second image is just to show more of the stem, to put the previous in age in context.
Leaves and dead flower of Olearia ramosissima
In retrospect, the dead flowers (seemingly without setting seed) is one of the main problems I had in identifying this as definitely one of the Daisy tribe (Asteraceae). Murray Fagg's image from the ANBG image collection clearly shows the classic seed structure of a Daisy ("Achenes")
"Achenes silky; pappus with 27–47 long bristles in 2 series, with an outer row of short bristles."(Source: PlantNET) See Botanical illustration figure K.

Anyway, in conclusion, I am now totally confident that the ID which was suggested to me by the Australian National Herbarium's, Brendan Lepschi, is correct. The flowers match, the leaves match, and the distribution (the location where I found my plant) fits with previous records for this species. My only regret is that the regular sources for native plants of the Sydney region fail to report the existence of this plant. A reminder that even the best "text books" are at best - generalisations.

And that is why I shall go ahead to register this "record" with the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra and the Atlas of Living Australia and I will make sure that the local officers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (who I know quite well) are aware of this species being found in the Morton National Park, at Three Views Track (above Tallowa Dam). it is but one of many interesting species found along that Track.

*** capitulum (head): a dense cluster of more or less sessile flowers, e.g. in Asteraceae a group of florets sessile on a common receptacle