Gertrude Petty Place

By: Michael Fox

Sue Jones has, for years, been an inspiration for a wide range of Mt Gravatt community members from Meals on Wheels to Mansfield Melody Makers. My contact with Sue started about 10 years ago when she introduced me to the Habitat Brisbane Bushcare programme and mentored me as I established Fox Gully Bushcare.

S Star War of Trees 2 30 Jun 10Sue has been defending the special habitat of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve for years. However, she has decided that is time to hand leadership of Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare over to the next generation.

Sheamus O’Connor who takes over from Sue in July is a great example of the next generation of community leaders.

Sue’s Legacy

Holland Park Kindy Mt Gravatt 9 July 12 001

Checking out a native bee nest

Sue particularly loves introducing kids to the wonders of the environment and particularly our special piece of Australian bush right in Mt Gravatt. Holland Park Kindergarten Bush Adventure at Gertrude Petty Place.





Susan showing cut sapling


Bushcare requires a long term focus. Restoration of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve is repairing damage done by logging over 100 years ago before visionary Mt Gravatt community members who lobbied for creation of the Reserve. Sue builds on that tradition engaging diverse community members in the restoration: Griffith Students Deliver Results.

I have had the honour of partnering with warrior Sue to successfully tackle the ongoing problem of illegal mountain bike riding damaging plants and causing erosion. Threats: Downhill Mountain Biking, Trail Bikes & Unofficial Tracks


Sheamus building the Future

Nat Tree Day Planting Group Photo 2011 010

Mt Gravatt SHS Team

Sheamus also believes in community action to build our future and has been contributing to restoration of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve starting when he was still attending Mt Gravatt State High School. Mt Gravatt SHS students planting their future




Sheamus Water Warrior


Sheamus has already been identified as an environmental warrior.  Graduated from Griffith University Sheamus is now sharing his passion for the environment and science, teaching the next generation at Whites Hill State College.


Volunteer to help Sheamus build our future

The Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare team meets monthly on the last Saturday of the month 8am to 10am.

Grab a friend and join other generous and passionate community members working with Sheamus to build a strong Bushcare team.

More details see our Bushcare Calendar.





Tree falls - Southern Star - 18 Nov 2015

Southern Star – 18 Nov 2015

By: Michael Fox

Susan Jones and I met with a specialist Council arborist today at Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare, to discuss action required to improve public safety for mountain neighbours in Gosford Street.

Balancing public safety and wildlife habitat is always complex. Brisbane City Council’s arborist team have checked the health of trees along the property boundary and identified a number of removal. The team’s assessment was then matched against an independent arborist’s report for confirmation.

Long term safety will be managed by replanting with native grasses and low ground covers. Offset planting to replace trees will be undertaken away from the boundary.



Koala - Gertrude Petty Place - 23 Nov 2015 lowres

Koala – Queensland Blue Gum


Finding a Koala sleeping in a Queensland Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis in another part of the Buscare site, highlights the importance of replacing canopy when trees are removed for public safety reason.



(l-r) Len Kann, Michael Fox, Laurie Deacon

(l-r) Len Kann, Michael Fox, Laurie Deacon

By: Michael Fox

I joined our President – Laurie Deacon and Len Kann at Mt Gravatt Bowls Club on Saturday to celebrate Queensland Day and join Ian Walker MP, Cr Krista Adams and other community members acknowledging some of the special volunteers who keep our sports teams operating or provide  support for the most vulnerable people in our community.

Southside Sport & Community Club every year provide generous support for community groups with the Community Grants Scheme. Mt Gravatt Environment Group has received a grant that will allow us to purchase specialised equipment for our bush restoration teams. We now have seven teams restoring bushland sites around the mountain and building a Pollinator Link garden at Mt Gravatt SHS.

Southside’s generous support has already allowed us to purchase a chipper for recycling weed trees and GoPro camera used to monitor nesting boxes installed at Fox Gully Bushcare site.



Sheamus O’Connor – Water Warrior

By: Michael Fox

Congratulations to Sheamus O’Connor who received the Water Warrior Award (Secondary) at Friday’s Healthy Waterways Awards.

Presented by Target Australia the award is open to to individual secondary school students who are undertaking activities that improve the health of our waterways and make a positive difference in our local communities.

Sheamus is a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, improving bushland and waterways in his local area.  Sheamus became a volunteer and member at the Mt Gravatt Environment Group and Bulimba Creek Catchment in 2010, assisting with the bushcare group every Wednesday after school, and on weekend working bees along side other local residents and the Rotary group.

 In 2011, on National Tree Day, he was responsible for organising 20 students, teachers and family members to rehabilitate the entry of the Mt Gravatt Summit track, in conjunction with the bushcare group. The area was quickly transformed from a weed infested eyesore into the makings of wildlife habitat. In 2012, he continued working in the area, training international and local students from Griffith University, and  again organised a group of students to plant in the area for National Tree Day. Sheamus represented the bushcare group at the 2012 Lord Mayor’s Diamond Jubilee Walk tree planting in Victoria Park.

Sheamus has participated in Clean Up Australia Day for several years, assisting with the Scouts who come along.  He is very mindful that litter on the mountain makes its way into the creeks and degrades habitat for wildlife and explains this to the younger children.

During 2011 and 2012, Sheamus has been a regular attendee at the monthly  Open Days at the Bulimba Creek Catchment Sustainability Centre. He has the role of introducing or thanking the guest presenters, taking new people on a tour of the centre and has given a presentation himself about looking after chickens.  He is very knowledgeable about native plants and assists others to make selections for their yards. Sheamus has also assisted the catchment group at an information stall for Green Heart Fair.  He talked to many people about bushcare, looking after waterways, and plants to encourage native species in the home garden.

In 2012, Sheamus was invited to be part of Council’s school holiday program, giving a presentation about chickens at the Holland Park library.  The children were fascinated with his chickens and the information given about their habits and needs.

His concern for the environment has extended to his own home, where the O’Connor family now uses many sustainable living practices.He has constructed fruit and vegetable gardens, a compost bin, worm farm and chicken coop, recycling as much waste as possible into the garden. The native gardens provide habitat for the endangered Richmond Birdwing Butterfly as well as the usual animals found in urban backyards.  He even persuaded his parent’s to install solar panels.

Sheamus’s efforts have been recognised by the Lord Mayor’s Young Citizen of the Year in 2012 and Quest Newspaper’s Young Star Community Award in 2012.  In 2011 he had the opportunity of meeting the Premier, and he took the opportunity to explain his outlook on the environment and the importance of people acting now to protect natural areas for the future.

Sheamus is a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability and has just begun an Environmental Course at Griffith University.  He is not only an articulate spokesperson for future generations, he is recognised for his personal contribution to the restoration of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Multinational volunteer team

By: Susan Jones

We were fortunate to have a multinational group of eleven Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) volunteers at Gertrude Petty Place today to clear a large garden bed of Cobblers Pegs Bidens pilosa and lay mulch.



CVA Mulch Team


One team removed the weeds, whilst the other barrowed in mulch sourced from trees blown down in the March 20 storm.

We were unable to finish the job as we had to stop work when a nest of Green-Head Ants Rhytidoponera metallica swarmed out of a nest in the mulch, threatening volunteers with painful stings.

Well earned break at Summit




We stopped for lunch at the summit, which proved a real treat for everyone.   Our international friends were amazed at the expansive views and the locals declared it better than that from Mt Coot-tha.

Removing Creeping Lantana





Afterwards, we returned to clear Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis at the entrance to the Summit Walk, where we found a hive of Sugarbag native bees Trigona carbonaria.

Our day concluded with a tour of the Mt Gravatt High School National Tree Day Planting site, and a look at an old termite’s nest in an Ironbark gum,  which has provided a breeding site over many years for our local Laughing Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae.

A heartfelt thanks to these delightful volunteers who worked so hard to strengthen the environmental values of our Reserve.

(l-r) Mirandha, David, Joseph

By: Michael Fox

Mirandha Escott-Burton is the driving force behind our partnership with the Griffith Bushcare Team which aims to engage our local university students in our restoration work.

We are currently planning a series of Saturday morning events and projects at our six Bushcare sites.

Saturday was at Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare where Mirandha and Joseph worked with local resident David, Team Leader Sue Jones and other volunteers who meet on site the last Saturday of each month between 8am and 10am.


Isotropis filicaulis

By: Michael Fox

The rain is frustrating when we have to cancel Bushcare events, however, it is also bringing the forest alive with three new plant species added in one week.

Susan Jones has found that removal of weeds and restoration at the Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare site has allowed natural regeneration of a number of plant species including this rare/threatened Fabaceae species Isotropis filicaulis.


Polymeria calycina


Swamp Bindweed Polymeria calycina a delicate creeper with pink flowers.






Plantago debilis - 7 Apr 2013

Plantago debilis



Plantago debilis a small native herb that provides seeds for native birds. Addition of these three new species means we now have 268 native plant species in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Thanks to Ann Moran, Jaeger-Moran Environmental, for help with identification.



On the other side of the mountain Alan Moore got this amazing close-up of an Eastern Bearded Dragon with its beard on display in Fox Gully Bushcare.


Bearded Dragon - Mar 2013 - Alan Moore

Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata – Photo: Alan Moore

GPP storm damage - 5 Feb 13

Storm damage Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare

By: Michael Fox

Over the last two days I have walked the tracks in the Reserve to see what damage was done by last week’s storm. Being a mountain flooding is not a problem however we have lost a significant number of large eucalypts, a number of Casuarinas and a significant number of dead old trees (stags) which are often important habitat because of their nest hollows. A number tracks are blocked by fallen trees which will take time to clear as the Council teams prioritise clean up work.

Mountain Bike tracks

Storm block illegal mountain bike tracks

However, the storm has created some unexpected benefits for the habitat as fallen trees have blocked tracks used by illegal downhill mountain bike riders. We have had a number of reports that mountain bike riders have been seen in the Reserve so I also walked the areas that have been damaged illegal riding. I found some evidence of bike riding including clearing of logs placed by Council contractors to block tracks and minimise further erosion. So I was pleased to find a number of tracks blocked by large branches broken in the storm.

Red-browed Finch - 4 Feb 2013

Red-browed Finch – click to enlarge

I am also heartened by seeing wildlife thriving in the post storm environment.

I found Red-browed Finchs on Acacia Way …






Dragonfly - 5 Jan 13

Dragonfly – Blue-spotted Hawker – beside Summit Track

… and a previously unrecorded dragonfly – Blue-spotted Hawker Adversaeschna brevistyla on the Summit Track. Thanks to Graham McDonald for the id. You can see more info on this and other dragonflies at Brisbane Insects.







Shepherd’s Crook Orchid

I also found the Shepherd’s Crook Orchid flowering again at the Fox Gully Bushcare site. This is particularly important as this beautiful native orchid has been returned to the Reserve as a result of restoration work undertaken at the Fox Gully site.

By: Michael Fox

Wishart Ward habitat groups with Cr Krista Adams and Ian Walker MP

Yesterday I attended the launch of an amazing book which captures the history of  habitat groups within the eastern creek catchments of Brisbane. The true genus of this book is that it is a compilation of stories written by group members and illustrated by photos submitted by each group. Each story paints a personal picture of a habitat community with group activities, community events and flora and fauna as seen through the eyes of individuals who truly care about that patch of urban bushland.

Congratulations to the BCC Habitat Brisbane team members who bought this alive and thanks to the BCC Councilors who had the vision to provide the financial support.

Bushcare groups represented

The launch was hosted by Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) at the Sustainability Centre and Native Plant Nursery.

Reading the stories and understanding the scope of the Habitat Brisbane programme, this is only the Eastern Catchments, fills me with pride in our Brisbane community and hope for the future.

Copies of this high quality small volume photo book can be ordered by emailing B4C. Cost is $120.

Three Mt Gravatt Environment Group Bushcare sites are represented:

Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare

Rover Street Bushcare

Fox Gully Bushcare

By: Susan Jones

After the fun of last week’s National Tree Day planting of 140 natives to attract birds, bees, butterflies and koalas, it was time to start watering.   Council do not supply water for smaller plantings and we are not permitted to use mains water.   Consequently we have to depend on water from our own garden tanks, which we bottle in recycled 3 litre milk containers and carry to site.  Sheamus shared the load and added a dash of worm juice to his bottles, which will give the plants a good start.  We will continue to water weekly for a month, unless it starts to rain again.

Mirandha and her Griffith Uni volunteer team of Lin, Lyn, Moeko, Thomas and Rashed joined our regular group members and quickly dispersed to water and put mulch around the base of our plantings.   Next, it was back to the tedious task of removing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus.  Rashed tried his hand at using our Tree Popper, a very handy device that grips and easily pulls deep-rooted weeds from the ground. His target was Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata, an extremely deep rooted weed that is now showing the first signs of flowering.    With the arrival of Spring, the plants will fruit and birds will disperse the seeds all around the mountain and into our gardens.   If we do not get all the plants out before fruiting time, we remove fruiting branches and return later to remove the rest of the plant.

A lot of work was achieved at this regular Wednesday afternoon working bee.   It’s so beautiful in the bush on a sunny winter’s afternoon – why not come out and join us, and meet delightful young people from all around the globe.


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