Ipswich Branch hosted the first 'roving' quarterly meeting of the Conservation Subcommittee on Sunday, July 19th, with excursions to 3 of their major projects. About 30 SGAP members attended, representing seven SGAP Branches.
We started the day at Peace Park, a five-year old project spearheaded by Arnold Rieck. With grants from Council, Landcare and the National Heritage Trust, over 350 plants from 110 different species were planted by members of Ipswich SGAP. Arnold hopes to regenerate the area with about 200 species indigenous to the Rosewood area, creating a 'living museum' which will provide a seed source for future regeneration work. Twelve feature beds are planned, including food species, medicinal plants, plants of pharmaceutical interest and rare species. Eventually, it will be a regional botanic attraction and educational centre for both residents and visitors.
The 'Rosewood Scrub' was a diverse and dense woodland community which once covered the area from Lowood to Rosewood and from Haigslea to Plainlands. Now there is only 3-5% left of it and none of it is in pristine condition. Thus, this type of plant community and many of the individual species in it are in danger of extinction.
Plantings of interest at Peace Park include: the rare Callitris baileyi (Bailey's Cypress), Sterculia quadrifida (Peanut Tree), Euroschinus falcata (Ribbonwood), Acacia fasciculifera (the original 'Rosewood'), Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow), Owenia venosa (Rose Apple) and Cupaniopsis parvifolia (Small-leaf Tuckeroo), Olea paniculata, Austromyrtus bidwillii (Python Tree), Cassia tomentella, Harpullia hillii, Alstonia constricta (Blind-your-eye) Dendrocnide photinophylla (Shiny Stinging Tree), and Alectryon diversifolius.
From Peace Park, we convoyed to Camira State School, and car-pooled to the next site. We drove through the newly constructed suburban streets of the developing 'satellite city' of Springfield, then turned off onto a dirt track, crossing a creek and winding through light scrub and overgrown paddocks. Suddenly we were amongst the magnificent trees of the Woogaroo Scrub and the smile on Lloyd Bird's face said it all - this is a very special place; a bit of heaven on earth and a priceless refuge from the encroaching urbanisation.
The fringing rainforest, known as Woogaroo or Goodna Scrub, once extended from the Brisbane River at Goodna upstream for 5 km. Now, all that is left is remnants of riverine rainforest along the adjoining Opossum, Woogaroo and Mountain Creeks. These serve as the major drainage lines for the Springfield development. This area will now be preserved as part of a greenbelt, providing a wildlife corridor between the Brisbane River and bushland to the south. The area abounds with wildlife: 50 species of birds, 35 species of butterflies, 18 species of frogs and yellow belly gliders live here.
The regeneration work started in 1992, with manual clearing of lantana and camphor laurel. Plants of local provenance were established with minimum care; watering once only at the time of planting - no fertilizing or weeding was done. Thick mulch reduced water loss and provided weed control. This principle of 'the right plant for the right place' seems to have been largely successful. In 1994, a devastating bushfire went through the area, seemingly destroying all. But many of the plantings did survive and, walking through the area now, one would hardly guess the extent of the damage in 1994.
As Lloyd Bird was the driving force for preserving and restoring this area, it was fitting for President Geoff Goadby to present him with Honorary Life Membership here. Lloyd's extensive knowledge of native flora, and particularly rainforest species, was entirely self-taught and has been generously shared with others over many years. His superb, man-made rainforest garden, in a steep ex-quarry at the back of his home, has inspired many. Lloyd has surveyed and studied the flora in many areas and has discovered some rare specimens and a few new species have been named after him. He has contributed much to the community through his regeneration work, including the rainforest planting along the Bremer River and now the Woogaroo Scrub Project, of which he is the project coordinator. His Honorary Life Membership in SGAP is richly deserved and his dedication and life_s work serves as a model and inspiration for us all.
Members had their lunch in the cool shade of the trees near the creek and then went wandering. The diversity of habitat was fascinating, from moist creek beds lined with Lomandra hystrix to rocky gorges and hillsides of dry open forest. Plants noted were: Notelaea lloydii (a native olive discovered by Lloyd Bird), Baeckea sp. Opossum Creek, Sarcomelicope simplicifolia (of medical interest), Streblus brunonianus, Microcitrus australis, Plectranthus habrophyllus, Syzygium johnsonii, Aphananthe philippinensis, Wilkiea macrophylla, Castanospermum australe, Pentaceras australis, Rhodomyrtus psidioides and Stenocarpus sinuatus.
Our last stop for the day was the Rare and Threatened Species Garden (affectionately called RATS) at Bundamba TAFE. The garden was started in late 1991, on the site of an old quarry, which was used as a dump before the TAFE college purchased it. It was a very difficult site due to the low soil nutrients, low moisture and high exposure to wind, being on a hill. In spite of these adverse conditions, they did eventually succeed in establishing the garden and now have quite a number of rare or notable species. Much credit was due to Mr. Kevin Tinworth, who kept the plants alive by diligent watering through the drought periods. An Award of Appreciation was presented to Mr. Tinworth by the Ipswich Branch.
The Conservation Subcommittee meeting was then opened by Barbara Henderson, the Conservation Officer. Barbara cited the continuing rapid loss of Wallum (coastal heathland) plant communities as an example of why conservation of habitat is needed - not just preservation of individual species by cultivation. What can SGAP members do? Barbara suggested Education was a key element. We need to educate the public in general about the value of native flora. We also need to work with our local councils and the developers, as these are the people who directly affect the fate of our dwindling bushland.
Arnold Rieck gave examples of how Ipswich Branch works closely with their local Council by having a representative on an Environmental Consultation Committee and making recommendations regarding areas to save. Redcliffe and District SGAP also keep in touch with their Council. Caboolture Daytime Branch has an Environmental Centre. Redlands Branch works closely with their Council through their Greening Australia officer, as does Gold Coast Branch. Gold Coast SGAP also had input on the Nature Conservation Strategy which was recently drawn up by their Council and are now involved in a project to regenerate the Council's tip sites with local species. Logan River Australian Plant Society has a representative, Peter Lenz, on their Council's Environment Advisory Committee. Lorna Murray pointed out that Brisbane City Council supports the Bushland Care Groups. Western Suburbs SGAP participates in CRAC (Centenary River Advisory Committee), which assists groups involved in regeneration and management of river frontage.
There was concern about state legislation passed last year which speeds the processing of development plans and lessens the chances of objections. Arnold suggested we needed a lobby group in local and state government. Whether the SGAP's subcommittee can fulfil this role, however, is doubtful, since the current committee members are already overcommitted.
The importance of Roadside Verges was emphasised by Arnold. Moreton Shire now has a Roadside Bush Management person. We need to make our local Councils aware of the value of these remnant strips of native vegetation. Council Workers or their Contractors which do the roadside grading should get some horticultural or environmental training. In Western Australia, graders are NOT allowed in certain areas.
Other points raised were:
We need to build links with Landcare Groups.
We need to educate the public about what NOT to plant.
Ipswich Branch has a list of potential environmental weeds and suggest 3 natives as alternatives to plant. They are also making a Weeds Poster. Gold Coast Branch is doing something similar.
Surveys of all remaining local bushland should be carried out by competent persons. These need to be compiled in a database and made available to the public. Griffith University has done a study on Logan City.
Ipswich Envirocare is a coordinating body for local environmental groups.
Top |Home | You & SGAP | Getting Involved with SGAP | SGAP Qld Region | SGAP Publications
Local Branches | Study Groups | Study Group List | Queensland Nurseries | Special Articles