The Knox Environment Society (KES) is a membership-based organisation of like-minded individuals that have a concern for the environment.
An elected Committee meets once a month to administer the day-to-day activities of the Society. A monthly newsletter, the "Kestrel", is distributed to all members.
KES work closely with Knox Council, other Environmental Groups, Friends Groups and individuals to achieve the Society's objectives.
KES was founded in June 1982 from a small group of people interested in their local environment and community. Over the years the group has flourished into a volunteer organization with over 100 members. To achieve their objectives the Society established a community nursery to which volunteers have a sense of ownership. This indigenous plant nursery was originally located in the Ferntree Gully Secondary College grounds. In 2009 the nursery moved to the Ferntree Gully Recreation Reserve behind the library on Burwood Hwy. Most of the money gained goes back into the community for environmental projects, both locally and globally, such as the Sword-grass Brown Butterfly project, lobbying for better public transport and donations to other groups striving for similar objectives.
KES has also played an integral role with the Knox City Council in the installation of a Conservation Officer and development of conservation strategies, Sustainable City Plan and has been involved in the establishment of the Environment Advisory Committee and Public Transport Consulting Committee. We have a number of members on these committees lifting the profile and giving a balanced approach to various issues relating to Knox's environment. KES continues to work proactively with Knox City Council.
As the KES Community Nursery began to grow and with greater interest from the community, there was a need to create a wholesale nursery and so Operation Revegetation (O.R) was born. In 2015, the KES was in a position that it wanted to become independent of O.R. and so O.R. was sold.
Over thirty years have passed since KES began its existence. We continue to grow, and hopefully educate future generations, so that in another 30 years our work will be less required as the community becomes more aware of how precious our environment really is.
A book, written by one of the founding members of KES, details the history of KES.
Planting Indigenous Plants in Knox City
The following text was written by Alistair Knox, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and pioneer in the Environmental Architecture movement. (Andrew Paget, Knox's Indigenous Plants Suitable for Cultivation, 1986)
"In 1970 when Neville Haynes was its Town Clerk, the City of Knox enjoyed a heyday of good forward planning in every area of local government. I met Neville at a planning conference in Perth a year or so before and I had some idea of his abilities so I was pleased when he asked me to undertake forward landscape planning proposals for the whole municipality."
"I researched the history of the district and found it had originally been the Corhanwarrabul cattle run in the days before properties were properly dimensioned and bounded. In my childhood the district had always meant the Upper Ferntree Gully Station and the narrow gauge railway that ran through the Dandenong Ranges. Our family used to holiday at Belgrave and the means of transport was the Puffing Billy. We would struggle up the steep slopes amid clouds of smoke and steam at a walking pace. The Shire of Knox in those days was a place of mysterious bush and great adventure. It had radically changed by 1970 but largely due to Neville Haynes' planning abilities every attempt had been made to retain the mountain district character of the Blue Dandenongs."
"I had little difficulty in persuading him that all roadside and general planting should be indigenous to the area which was so rich in individual native growth. This original concept was quietly swept under the carpet when Neville Haynes was promoted to full time advisor to the State Minister for Local Government to assist the development of the outer area of Melbourne in an integrated manner. He could no longer keep the control he had exercised over his local district."
"It was a tragedy that no one succeeded him who had either the authority or the foresight and understanding to perpetuate the unique qualities the growing district had inherited. It deteriorated into a somewhat dreary outer suburb which was a fate its early promise did not deserve."
"It is still not too late to change a lot that has gone wrong. A proper approach employing dense local plants to all public areas would make an enormous improvement in three years. Such is the nature of outer eastern Melbourne that this attitude could practically obscure the erstwhile devastation that occurred within ten years and we could once more appreciate the original character of this beautiful district."
Cover photo by Melissa Allen: Pterostylis nutans - Nodding Greenhood