Mt Gravatt Environment Group

By: Michael Fox

Making a new home for the family.

Sitting in the sun having breakfast I look up to see two Laughing Kookaburras preparing a new home in a termite nest high in a tree. We currently have twenty one nest boxes within Fox Gully Bushcare already providing breeding habitat for Squirrel Gliders Petaurus norfolcensis, Rainbow Lorrikets Trichoglossus haematodus, Pale-headed Rosellas Platycercus eximius and Brushtail Possums Trichosurus vulpecula.

Kookaburra chicks in Boobook Owl box

The artificial nest boxes are intended to support wildlife while natural nest hollows develop in the forest. Our Kookaburras have been using an owl nest box for breeding, so it is exciting to see the termite nest is now large enough for our Kookas to create make their own home.

Male Variegated Fairy Wren




Look for a family of Variegated Fairy Wrens Malurus lamberti playing in the scrubby habitat alongside Acacia Way. Small forest birds like the safety of tangled habitat like this where they can nest and escape from Kookaburras and other large predator birds like Pied Currawongs Strepera graculina and Kookaburras.

You can provide habitat for these special birds in your backyard by building a Habitat Tripod.

Headache Vine



Perhaps you can grow the beautiful Headache Vine Clematis glycinoides that is currently flowering along Acacia Way.

“It is a useful climber that could be used to cover the framework of a fernery. The growth is very dense and provides safe nesting sites for small native birds.” Australian Plants Society NSW

A useful vine, as it is happy growing in shaded areas and the crushed leaves help manage headaches.

Lipotriches sp. – Solitary Bee on Dianella flower





We also found a different solitary native bee species visiting flowers of Blueberry Lily Dianella longifolia. Lipotriches sp. do not form colonies, the individual females make nests in the ground. Native plant species like Dianella require Buzz Polination (sonicating) which shakes the pollen out of the flowers.

Native Indigo flower


Native Indigo Indigofera australis is also starting to flower along Acacia Way. Native Indigo is caterpillar food plant for Long-tailed Pea-blue Lampides boeticus and Common Grass-blue Zizina labradus butterflies.

Native Indigo can also be used for natural dying of cloth.

By: Sheamus O’Connor

Expanded garden space - 25 July 2020

Rainy not cold … perfect for Bushcare

We had a lot of fun yesterday in the puddles, luckily it was not too cold as we got soaked!

Thanks to our hard … wet … workers, we got heaps done in such a short period of time.
Logs and branches adjacent to the path will reduce damage to our new Lomandra planting by stopping people walking off the track. At the same time logs make safe habitat for lizards and provide valuable food for beetles and other insects.

Logs Gertrute Petty Place - 25 July 2020

Logs protect planting

Garden beds have been extended to cover areas where fast spreading invasive weed has been Dyschoriste depressa poisoned. Our energiser rain loving team planted and mulched the expanded garden area.

A pedestrian goat track and a mountain bike track between road and Federation Track were closed to allow regeneration and re-mulched earlier plantings.


Our next monthly working bee is Saturday 29th August 8am – 11am. Hope to see you there.

CoverShare visual stories of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve with family and friends and support our ongoing restoration work and wildlife research.

The theme of this year’s annual Photographic Workshop was Aspects and Viewpoints: look for a viewpoint that emphasises the story and the aspect frames the subject. Participants learned to tell a story using lighting and depth of field to capture their experience of being in the bush.

Order early for posting overseas. 





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Visit B4C Sustainability Centre




By: Michael Fox


Members of the Australian Chinese Youth Association (ACYA) joined me yesterday to restore Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. A diverse group with students from China, Japan and Australia, all passionate about working with China.

The team were also all interested in everything I showed them, like the Basket Fern Drynaria rigidula growing, not in cool shady gullies but on dry rocky Mt Gravatt.

Proud Bushcare team - 23 March 2019

Weed Busters at work removing Fishbone Fern


Casey asked what we do in the forest so I showed the National Tree Day plantings and explained our work educating and engaging community members with grant funding for interpretive signs and maps of walking tracks.

I put the team to work removing invasive Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia. A native species indigenous to north Queensland it is an environmental weed in Brisbane spreading from garden waste dumped in bushland and smothering local natives.

Bark Cockroach - Laxta sp. - 23 March 2019

Bark Cockroach



Remember I said the team were interested in everything?

We have never found so many different species at one time. Casey found one of our bush cockroaches: Bark Cockroaches Laxta sp. live in the leaf litter preforming valuable recycling work.


Black Woodland Cockroach - Platyzosteria melanaria - 23 March 2019

Black Woodland Cockroach



A Black Woodland Cockroach Platyzosteria melanaria is a new addition to our Flora and Fauna species list.




Brisbane brush-footed trapdoor - Seqocrypta jakara - 23 March 2019

Brisbane Brush-footed Trapdoor Spider


Brisbane Brush-footed Trapdoor Spider  Seqocrypta jakara is another new species identified.




Net-casting Spider - Deinopis sp. - young - 23 March 2019

Net-casting Spider






A newly hatched Net-casting Spider Deinopis sp.

Brown Huntsman - Heteropoda sp. - 23 March 2019

Brown Huntsman









I think Wentao (right) set a new record for finding wildlife including a Brown Huntsman Heteropoda sp.







Weeding disturbed a  Sugar Ant Camponotus sp. The ants immediately got busy relocating their larvae and when I checked today the site was completely clear.




Fungi - 23 March 2019





Cute fungi were also found.



Tiny mushroom fungi - 23 March 2019








Tiny mushroom fungi.







Eight plus bags of weeds - 23 March 2019

Proud Weed Busters



Eight and quarter bags of weeds removed and ready to go to Green Waste at the dump. We compost most weeds onsite however the roots and nodules of Fishbone need to be removed from site or they regrow.

Thank you to the ACYA team. Looking forward to welcoming you back in two weeks.

Lord Mayor's 2016 Australia Day Awards

Laurie receiving Green Heart Award

By: Michael Fox

Mt Gravatt Environment Group was honoured on Australia Day with presentation of the Lord Mayor’s Green Heart Award – Organisation 2016.





The award citation:

“Mount Gravatt Environment Group is dedicated to their local environment. Their mantra ‘bringing birds and butterflies back to suburbia’, is achieved by the careful planning and implementation of many projects within the local community including mountain and gully restoration and various flora and fauna projects. The group has been responsible for the rehabilitation of Fox Gully into a vibrant wildlife corridor.

The group works closely with other community organisations to ensure maximum outcome and benefits for Mount Gravatt.”

Laurie Deacon Family and Cr Adams

Cr Krista Adams, myself, Laurie and Sigrid with Green Heart Award

Our President, Laurie Deacon, Sigrid – representing the next generation, and I all attended the award ceremony. An impressive event held in City Hall and hosting an amazing group of individuals members who are giving their time generously to our community.

As with many community groups, the achievements acknowledged with this award are the combined efforts of many individual Mt Gravatt Environment Group members, as well as, some extraordinary community partners who provide support with training, equipment, plants, grant funding, research and boots on the ground. Thank you to:




Koala & Joey - Fox Gully 3 - 4 Jan 2014 close

Please slow down at night … Koala Mum and Joey – Fox Gully Bushcare

By: Michael Fox

15 September 2015 Breaking news:

Koala Superman to the rescue.

Local resident David Kloske is now being called the Koala Superman by family and friends after his dramatic rescue of a young Koala trying to cross busy Klumpp Road on last night.

“Poor little guy was wandering across the road and seemed very lost and confused and kept stopping and turning back etc. So I blocked the traffic for a bit with hazard while I scared it off the road onto the pool side [footpath]. Then I parked my car and ushered the little fellow down the bike path and back into the trees.” David Kloske

Koala breeding season runs from spring to mid-summer. So please be careful on our local roads at night.

Found a sick or injured Koala?

Call RSPCA Rescue Hotline Phone: 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)

By: Michael Fox

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team


Tags tell a story about participants

It’s 9am on a sunny Sunday morning and the site is buzzing with activity. Seventy-nine students and community members, representing countries as diverse as Canada and the Philippines, are working  together to build a new home for our small forest birds. The 2015 National Tree Day is our largest event on the mountain so far. A great learning experience for us and a credit to the support of our partners BCC Habitat Brisbane, B4C, Griffith Mates and the National Tree Day team.

Introducing Griffith students to Australian bush

Introducing Griffith students to Australian bush







Laurie, Kate and I met the Griffith Mates team at Mt Gravatt Campus for a guided walk to the planting site explaining the difference between the male and female She-oaks Allocasuarina, male – flowers are russet tips on leaves, and female – flowers are red small red balls on branches. And, of course, the winter flowering Brisbane Fringed Wattle Acacia fimbriata is always popular. Laurie showed the distinctive scratches left by Koalas before Len signed the team in talked about our 1,500 species of native bees and Kate demonstrated correct planting technique.


Ahmadiyya Muslim Association team

This planting is new initiative to create the specialised habitat our small forest birds like Variegated Fair Wrens Malurus lamberti. These small insect eating birds are valuable partners in controlling pests in our backyards but they do need habitat that provides protection from larger birds and cats. So it was a particular pleasure to meet and talk to another community group that is making valuable contributions to the environment and strengthening our community more generally. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia (Ahmadiyya Jamaat) was formally established in 1980, however the relationship goes back as far as 1903 with Hassan Moosa Khan being the first Ahmadi in Australia. The local association has a strong relationship with the Logan community and we hope to build a long term bushcare partnership in our community.


Kids love getting their hands into the dirt.


Kids and dirt, a magic formula.

There are many different stories told in the pictures taken by Alan, Sienna and Jude, however, these really spoke to my heart. Families working together creating something for the future.



Not just kids and dirt








Adults also like to get their hands into the dirt. Mark is a passionate supporter of B4C restoration work and community education.




Ross Vasta

Ross Vasta planting the future




Our local politicians dug in as well. Ross Vasta our local Federal Member loaded mulch and planted trees with the team.







Ian Walker MP with Alpha Phi Omega team

Alpha Phi Omega team with Ian Walker and Kate Flink

Particularly welcome was Ian Walker, Member for Mansfield, and sponsor of our initiative to publish track maps and develop interpretative signs to engage visitors to the Reserve.

Ian is pictured with the Alpha Phi Omega team and new small bird sign in the foreground.

The Alpha Phi Omega team is another interesting service group with a fifty year history of college campus-based volunteerism in the Philippines. The event really was a multinational effort to restore a unique piece of inner city bushland.

Event team (l-r) Michael Fox, Len Kann, Heather Barns, Kate Flink

Event team (l-r) Michael Fox, Len Kann, Heather Barns, Kate Flink



Thank you all from the event organising team. Laurie Deacon not in photograph.

Easter Cassia flower - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata

By: Michael Fox

Around Easter each year you can see the beautiful yellow splashes of colour in our urban bushland as the environmental weed Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata comes into flower.

Our last Friday Bushcare at Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve focused on clearing Easter Cassia before another season’s crop of seed matures and spreads the weed further.

Easter Cassia seed pods - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia seed pods

Diamond-leaf Pittosporum - Auranticarpa rhombifolia - 15 May 2015 lr

Australian Holly/Christmas Berry Ardisia crenata


Easter Cassia produces beautiful flowers for much of the year. However, it also produces large numbers of seed pods spreading from gardens into urban bushland and shading out native plant species.

You can help protect our bushland by replacing Easter Cassia with native Sennas which have yellow flowers, grow to a similar 2 to 3 metres in height and attract a range of butterflies to your garden. See Toowoomba Plants article on native Sennas and butterflies.

Attractive garden plants like Australian Holly/Christmas Berry Ardisia crenata often become environmental weeds in our urban bushland as they are dumped at garden waste or spread by birds. The moist conditions within Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve make this important habitat particularly vulnerable to invasion by Ardisia crenata.





Chinese Elm - 15 May 2015

Chinese Elm removed with Treepopper





We also used the Treepopper to remove a well established Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis. Another garden escapee that crowds out native plant species vital to our native birds, butterflies and bees.

When ever possible we avoid using poison. Instead we pull woody weeds up roots and all with the Treepopper.




Grey Butcherbird - 15 May 2015

Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus

Our bush restoration work is very satisfying as we clear the weeds and watch the regrowth of native habitat. And every Friday as we work we are joined by a family of Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus torquatus looking for breakfast of spiders, centipedes and bush cockroaches. These birds are so used to us now that they will land on a branch right beside you and pose while you take photos or sing cheerful tunes that seem to be thank-you songs.

Koala mapping - Mar 2015

First Koala sightings 2015

By: Michael Fox

2015 is off to a good start with six sightings of Koalas reported already, and, importantly, the sightings have been right around the Reserve.

Koala - Mt Gravatt Campus - 23 Feb 2015 - Michael McGeever

          Koala – Griffith Uni Mt Gravatt Campus                          Photo: Michael McGeever

The latest sighting was on Sunday while we were doing a guided walk for our Griffith Mates visitors. Pieter Demmers spotted the Koala high in a tree beside Acacia Way. Seeing this Koala in the bush was particularly special for our visitors from Germany, France and China.

Michael McGeever spotted another Koala, probably a male,  just at the entry to the Mt Gravatt Campus





Koala - Fox Gully - 27 Feb 2015

Young Koala Fox Gully


Then we were woken about 4am last week. A young Koala seemed to be calling its mother with the short squeal – almost a ‘yip’, they use to communicate. I was able to get a photo when is climbed an Acacia near the house.

In 2014 at least two Joeys (baby Koalas) were born in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. In 2015 we want to do more tracking of Koalas with the aim of identifying and tracking individuals to help us understand their movement patterns and how to reduce the number killed on the South-east Freeway.

So if you see a Koala, please take a photo – phone camera is ok, note the location and any comments eg. mother with joey or walking along the road.

Sightings can be reported to Koala Tracker and/or emailed to

Track sign Roly Chapman - 29 Oct 2014 - lowres

Cr Krista Adams – new bike path map

By: Michael Fox

Photography: Alan Moore

Inspecting the new bike path through Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve today with  Cr Krista Adams, I commented on the professionalism and design sensitivity the BCC Bikeways Project team and contractors working is a sensitive habitat area.

Cr Krista Adams is a strong supporter of our bush restoration work and keen to explore ways to balance pressure of our urban environment with valuable bushland remnant habitat.

Brisbane best bike path - 29 Oct 2014

Path curves to minimise tree loss

The Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan identified the bike path will support long term investment in habitat restoration within Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve as community access is enhanced. The more community members value the Reserve as peaceful place to walk or ride, the more the City Council can allocate to habitat restoration and building wild life corridors.

Connecting with the existing path, near the Hoad Street entry to the Reserve, the new bike/walking path weaves its shady way among valuable Ironbarks, Scribbly Gums and Queensland Blue Gums – Koala’s favorite food tree, before crossing Mimosa Creek to link with the Klumpp Road Park & Ride.

Vegetation Communities and Connectivity Options BAAM

Vegetation Communities – BAAM 2011

Thoughtful planning has been critical to minimise impacts on vegetation as it is boarded by two significant remnant vegetation communities identified in the 2011 BAMM corridor assessment report.


Restoration Mimosa Creek crossing

Aside from minimising tree loss with carefully planned curves, the design required the path to be laid above ground to reduce the impact excavation would have on tree roots. Running cabling for lights still required excavation however impact was reduced by use of vacuum excavation around significant tree roots. Were trees did have to be removed the logs were distributed in the bush to create habitat required by species like Echidnas that dig for insects living under fallen timber.

Wildlife Furniture - Mimosa Creek - 30 Oct 2014

Flow disruptors to support fish movement in flood conditions

Crossing Mimosa Creek was sensitive and restoration a work particularly important to manage erosion. One  bonus was removal of a large area of invasive Balloon Vine Cardiospermum grandiflorum and Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia, as well as, a large Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora.

One unexpected design feature was installation of animal or wildlife furniture in the creek crossing. I had never heard to term “wildlife furniture” before Krista introduced the term when we inspected the creek crossing. BCC designers draw on a range of “furniture” used to create wildlife corridors for everything koalas and gliders to lizards.

In this case heavy water flows in local flood conditions required the installation flow disruptors to allow fish and turtles to move upstream.

Working with the huge City Council bureaucracy can be frustrating, however, the size of the organisation means that it also has the capacity to draw on high quality expert teams for projects.

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