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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (31 October) . . Page.. 4597 ..


National Parks Association members who kindly provided cakes and hot drinks on what proved to be a surprisingly cold and wet morning. It was pretty hard to drag ourselves away from the roaring fire and the many jokes about how the toilets were built on the New South Wales side of the border on purpose.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the various stone border markers—called "lock spits", as I learnt that day—that indicate the border between the ACT and New South Wales. It is incredible to think about the people who surveyed such rugged terrain so long ago to help draw up the borders of the Australian Capital Territory, and the fact that those stone markers are still evident today is pretty special.

The rangers and representatives from the Australian Alps National Parks spoke to us about the very current issue of wild horses and the importance of preserving our water supply.

We then travelled to Ginini Flats and took a relatively short but, I must say, pretty treacherous walk down to the sphagnum alpine bog. The Ginini Flats wetlands is a Ramsar-listed site, meaning it is one of nearly 2,000 important wetlands around the world. The sphagnum bog is an important supply of natural water for lower altitude storage. The bog traps sediment and other liquid, removes nutrients, and eventually releases high quality water to rivers and streams.

Our guide for the day, Brett McNamara, manager of ACT parks and conservation, showed us the immense storage capacity of the sphagnum moss. He took a clump of it in his hand and squeezed it, producing water seemingly about half the volume of the moss itself. It is incredible to think that the water stored in that moss, over one kilometre above sea level, will slowly filter its way through the flats down into nearby creeks and rivers and help nourish the citizens of Canberra in a decade. Daniel Iglesias from ACT parks and conservation, who also joined us, said that he likes to think of the bog like a bank which is saving up water for our future generations.

I am very grateful to the staff from ACT parks and conservation for their guidance and wisdom on the day. Brett and Daniel were excellent guides to Namadgi and the surrounding areas.

Finally, we enjoyed lunch at the Mount Franklin shelter. The modern shelter was erected after the 2003 fire, at the site of an old ski chalet, in fact, the first ski lodge in mainland Australia, built by the Canberra Alpine Club in 1938. We may think of Thredbo or Perisher when talking about skiing in Australia, but the Canberra Alpine Club was, for a couple of decades, the place to ski for Canberrans.

It was sad to see the mangled remains of the original chalet's tank stand. The intense heat of the 2003 bushfire left the stand looking like a giant seat and is pictorially recorded in a beautiful book on the impact of the 2003 fires on Namadgi by Dianne Thompson from the National Parks Association.

The modern shelter came over in pieces from South Australia and was left in a pile at the bottom of the mountain. It took rangers and volunteers many months to ferry the


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