Pappinbarra NSW 2446 floods April 2021


Pappinbarra Valley, NSW 2446 has been through tough times in recent years.  Fires in 2017, drought in 2018 and 2019, fire again at the end of 2019 and  in 2021 the highest recorded floods in history for this area.

All Sustainable Futures* applied for, and received, a Government grant to rehabilitate the Pappinbarra River riparian corridor which saw devastating erosion.  The funds are available to eligible local landholders for the following activities:

  • undertake erosion mitigation works
  • revegetate and weed river/creek and other wildlife areas damaged by fire or flood
  • fence river/creek and other wildlife areas for livestock exclusion;

The future work will also include erosion control measures to restore eroded river banks; collect and grow local seed species; replant riparian corridor with endemic species that support bank stabilisation, food and shelter for specific threatened species such as platypus, powerful owl, koalas; remove weed species to encourage native regeneration. 

Kelly Miller, a director of All Sustainable Futures and resident in Pappinbarra Valley was delighted a local nursery [bluedale] was able to supply endemic species to help in the rejuvenation of the Pappinbarra Valley.

bluedale wholesale nursery (based in Wauchope 2446) supplied the first batch of tubestock so a number of local landholders and volunteer groups can begin the process of revegetation and erosion control.

Ryan Key, Director of bluedale said “Growing of native species is a cornerstone of what our bluedale nurseries undertake. We are seeing more demand from government and non-government organisations and environmental groups to supply Australian natives to help in the recovery and regeneration of land damaged by fire and extreme weather events. We also have a Contract Growing division which is scheduling the growing of specified endemic species years ahead – as many of the regeneration projects are planned to continue way into the future. It really is encouraging to see that the repair of natural habitat is being taken more seriously. Being able to supply native plants for local revegetation projects is very rewarding. We wish Kelly Miller and her team every success.”

The floods in April 2021 were particularly destructive with water levels rising as much as 15 metres.

“We had many houses wash away down the river and many homes inundated with water. Sheds, outbuildings, machinery, animals, farm equipment, pumps and irrigation have been damaged beyond repair or buried in the river… I would estimate that 95% of residents have been affected. …Never have I seen a flood like this. The river is mainly a beautiful part of our valley. This time though it unleashed a torrent of water never seen before. Also serene creeks were swollen and running so high that it destroyed everything in its path.” Liz McCleod, resident ( excerpt from an article on

“The banks of Pappinbarra River looks like a bomb has gone off and flattened everything in its wake.”

Kelly Benson, director of Wild Things Native Gardens**  advised on the plants to be used in this project. “One of our priority plants is Lomandra hystrix   [Mat Rush]

Lomandra hysteria – Mat Rush

This is a species that typically only grows on the river banks and flood plains associated with the riparian zone of a river. Its job is to weave its very dense matt like roots together and stabilise the river bank, they tend to grow very nicely together with Water Gums (Tristaniopsis laurina) who also like to tangle together on the riverbank, but when a big flood comes their flexibility allows them to just lie down and spring back up, and of course contribute to holding the bank together.

Tristaniopsis laurina – Water Gum

This stabilisation won’t happen if we clear our river banks right down to the edge and let our stock graze it away. The Water Gums also provide much needed shade for the riparian zone and a glorious tangle of roots for habitat, for fish, platypus, water rats and frogs. On some of  the other properties I have suggested species like Brushbox (Lophostemon confertus)   as they are very quick growing trees and provide a nice longer lived canopy to shade the site and allow other slower growing species to come up underneath. Some other super quick or “pioneer species” I like to use in these circumstances is Hibiscus heterophylla the native Hibiscus. These guys are extremely fast growing and are prolific seeders, they throw out loads of babies in a very short time frame. That’s a just a few of the chosen species and of course Lomandras will dominate (as they

mature Tristaniopsis laurina – Water Gums

are just great tough little guys, that hold it all together “ 

bluedale also supplied an initial batch of Lomandra longifolia  (Basket Grass) tube stock.

Lomandra longifolia – Basket Grass

* All Sustainable Futures is a registered not-for-profit incorporated association… Sustainability in every community creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony. Kelly Miller, Director – Education Training & Development, Environmental Science, Sustainability, Natural Resource Management, Landcare, Rivercare, Bushcare  Email:

** Wild Things Native Gardens is a long-established Bushland Restoration company operating on the Mid-North Coast of NSW for over 10 years. Kelly  Benson holds a Diploma in Conservation Land Management and is an experienced Natural Area Restoration teacher. She has over 15 years experience in Bush Regeneration. Working with both the private and public sectors, Kelly has in-depth knowledge of Vegetation Management Plans specific to the Hastings region. Email: