Mt Gravatt Outlook Development

Relief Worker road builders honoured

By: Michael Fox

Clare Boulter, President Mt Gravatt Historical Society, and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk have unveiled a plaque honouring the Relief Workers who first built what is now Mt Gravatt Outlook Drive. The plaque in the garden at Mt Gravatt Lookout was unveiled at a community event on 26 August.

The information for the plaque was researched by members of the Historical Society. The society publishes Mt Gravatt “Then and Now”, now including Volume 3 which covers stories and memories of long-term residents, who, by example and effort contributed to the establishment of modern-day Mt Gravatt.


Cr Krista Adams introduced Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and Clare Boulter. Edited version of video taken by Mt Gravatt Historical Society.

Members of Mt Gravatt Historical Society with Lord Mayor Quirk & Cr Krista Adams

Quite spoken Clare has an amazing knowledge of our local European history. That knowledge is very valuable for understanding the changes that have occurred in the Reserve over the last hundred years. Knowledge of past land use helps in planning long-term restoration. For example, knowing that the forest was a timber reserve for railway building confirms our on-ground research that indicates average  tree age of around 100 years which explains the low incidence of nest hollows.

Second plaque with extracts from “Mt Gravatt Then & Now”

The second plaque with extracts from “Mt Then and Now” will be on display as well. Visit the Lookout look at the view over the city and port, read some history, go for a walk – keep an eye out for Koalas, then finish with a picnic or coffee at Echidna Magic.

(l-r) Cr Ian McKenzie, Cr Norm Wyndham, Cr Krista Adams and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Brisbane achieved a milestone on Sunday 5 February 2012 when Lord Mayor Graham Quirk planted the 2 Millionth Tree at the Lookout picnic area on Mt Gravatt.

2 million trees! WOW!

Community volunteers starting on the next million trees

I am proud of what we have achieved with restoration of the two hectare Fox Gully Bushcare site. We have put in over 3,400 hours of community volunteer labour and we have planted just over 2,000 trees, grasses, herbs and vines. That is just 0.1% of 2 million, so I can truly appreciate what has been achieved by City Council teams, the contractors and volunteers right across the city.

Council and contractor teams

About thirty years ago I gained support of residents in Guthrie Street, Paddington and wrote to the City Council asking for street trees to be planted. I can now look at Guthrie Street on Google Maps and see those trees still growing and still providing shade  in our hot Queensland sun. Not every tree has survived thirty years. Some trees barely survived three weeks before being pulled up by vandals but the Council team persisted quickly replacing the damaged trees. The 2 Million Trees project has persisted against much bigger set-backs, like replacing trees lost in last year’s flood.

So I am now looking forward to another thirty years, watching 2 million trees mature and grow, right across the city.

Hon. Kate Jones, Minister for Environment and Resource Management joined us today at the Summit of Mt Gravatt to share our vision for restoration of this special part of our community.

L-R Hon. Kate Jones, Helen Schwencke, Michael Fox, Hon. Phil Reeves

Phil Reeves, local member and Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Sport joined myself and butterfly expert Helen Schwencke of Earthling Enterprises, hosted our Environment Minister.

Like most visitors Minister Jones was blown away by the beauty of the mountain which recalled her days of walking the eastern slopes of Mt Cootha as a child.

Our discussion covered everything from public toilets at the Summit, to habitat consolidation and wildlife corridors linking the Reserve with Mimosa Creek Precinct and Roly Chapman Reserve. The Minister asked about Koala sightings: Fox Gully and Rover Street Bushcare sites, also behind houses in Mountain Street. Also discussed were the species diversity with Echidnas and two hundred and fifty-four native plant species, as well as, the need for nest boxes to support Squirrel & Sugar Gliders in a forest with only a small proportion trees over one hundred years old.

The reality of flood recovery priorities means that government funds, for bushland restoration in the Reserve, will be limited in the short-term. However, Mt Gravatt Environment Group is currently revising our five-year Strategic Plan, so it was encouraging and valuable to be able to brief the Minister on our vision and plans for the Mountain habitat. The Minister was particularly impressed with our efforts to build relationships with Griffith University and corporate sponsors like ANZ Bank, which will help with some short-term projects.

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In February, Mt Gravatt Environment Group proposed an alternative approach to tree clearing on the mountain: Restoring Unique Scenic Outlook Below is a copy of the Letters to Editor section of Southern Star – June 9, 2010. Click on image to enlarge for reading.

MEG is already working closely with BCC Habitat Brisbane on restoration of four Mt Gravatt bushcare sites and has expressed interest in restoration of the Mt Gravatt Outlook. However, as a volunteer organisation with limited resources our activities are critically dependent on careful planning and co-ordination with other Mountain stakeholders: allows elimination of rework and other unnecessary work. While we provided detailed comment on the 2008 Draft Land Management Plan, we have not yet received a copy of the Interim Land Management Plan which we understand is currently being used to support decisions such as tree clearing on the summit.

Our BCC Habitat Brisbane team have been active upgrading the Federation Track which goes from Gertrude Petty Place via Federation Lookout onwards to the Summit.

You can also join from easement at 55 Granby Street.

The Track traverses some of the most beautiful  parts of the mountain passing spectacular Scribbly Gums Eucalyptus racemosa: koala food trees.

The characteristic scribble on the bark is created by lava of the Scribbly Gum moth. The moth lays its eggs in the bark. The lava hatches out, mines the bark in a zigzag pattern then emerges to form a grey ridged cocoon under bark at the base of the tree or in leaf litter. “A Guide to Australian Moths” Zborowski & Edwards.

The track crosses gullies populated with Coin-spot Treeferns Cyathea cooperi.

From the Granby Street sign the track climbs through the seam of quartz that bisects the mountain.

Not as pretty as the fern filled gully this part of the track presents excellent opportunities for some creative Ansel Adams style black & white photography: like this gnarled log surrounded by quartz.

Continue on to the Summit for a superb coffee at Echidna Magic.

Hope to meet you on the track soon.



MEG Clean Up Australia on Mt Gravatt results:

  • 23 volunteers
  • 12 large bags of rubbish removed
  • 12 large bags of recyclables removed
  • sundry large items removed – car tyres, metal pipes and wooden posts

Sue Jones, MEG Secretary, is very pleased with this result, the community volunteer support and the support of the Echidna Magic team who opened the Kiosk for the Clean Up.

Sue is optimistic that with the new gates closing the Outlook at night visitors are taking more care of the reserve. “The mountain is entering an exciting new phase. Let’s hope our aspirations for the place eventuate!”

When did you last visit the beautiful Mt Gravatt Outlook?

Mike Fox

Echidna Magic Kiosk opended for MEG’s Clean Up Australia on Sunday … thank you to the First Contact team.

Trish Williams was obviously very proud as she told the planned opening times for Echidna Magic:


  • opens today – Monday 8th
  • opening times – 9am to 7pm Monday to Sunday


  • planned opening Monday 15th
  • opening times – 9am to 9pm Monday to Sunday

Personally I’m planning Sunday breakfast on the deck. Good food, strong coffee and a view to die for.

Congratulations and best wishes to Trish and her team.

We in MEG look forward to building a strong partnership: sharing our environmental knowledge and experiencing indigenous culture and history, as we recreate Mt Gravatt as one of Brisbane’s iconic community and tourist attractions.

Mike Fox

Koala photographed in Fox Gully October 2009

MEG is working with BCC Habitat Brisbane, First Contact, Mt Gravatt District Historical Society, Cr Krista Adams and other  local stakeholders to plan the restoration of Mt Gravatt Outlook to maximise the experience for visitors.

The focus for MEG is engaging visitors, both local and tourists, with a powerful environmental, cultural/historical experience through development of the distant city and river vistas while experincing the colours and scents of our local wildflowers, calls of King Parrots, the flash of colour as Imperial Hairstreaks cluster in the Acacias and the buzz of discovering a Koala asleep in a Tallowwood.

Our research of local plants and wildlife – Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve by Sue Jones & Michael Fox, combined with our bush restoration experience allows us to see huge potential in thoughtful development of the Scenic Outlook with the objectives of:

  • developing habitat to attact and support the complex community of Koalas, Sugar Gliders, birds, butterflies and insects;
  • reducing the spread of weeds through-out the Reserve and the wider Bulimba Creek catchment by effective bush restoration at the Outlook;
  • reducing ongoing BCC maintenance costs by use of best practice bushcare techniques; and
  • improving public safety by reducing risk of injury on steep slopes.

The following is an extract from Mike’s comments on the Mt Gravatt Outlook Reserve Draft Land Management Plan June 2008.

Scenic Amenity

  • Scenic amenity is an important component of the ongoing community and tourism value of the Outlook. With the development of the kiosk/café at the Summit Mt Gravatt will easily rival Mt Coot-tha as a visitor attraction. The unique indigenous cultural aspects combined with similar views and the excellent track network which, unlike Mt Coot-tha, will be directly accessible from the kiosk/café – a significant issue for tourists.
  • The only explicit management guidelines provided, appear to be the arrows marked on the Significant Viewpoint Plan (Appendix Six). Another very important aspect of visual amenity is the actual vegetation adjoining the Summit. Currently this area is over grown with unsightly weeds. See Attachment C.
  • Long term enhancement of scenic amenity would be strengthened and maintenance costs reduced by:
    • Inclusion on the site map of specific areas where vegetation height is managed to allow views of CBD and mountains.
    • Specification of those areas as conservation buffer zones to be restored with suitable low growth plants indigenous to the Reserve. Plants for consideration include Smilax Australis (Barbed Wire Vine/Wait-awhile) and Bursaria spinosa (Prickly pine) which have attractive flowers, provide rare habitat for smaller native birds and as the names suggest discourage undesirable incursion by visitors.
    • Provide priority status for ongoing budget decisions by classifying these buffer zones as Recreational facilities ie. maintaining attractive visual amenity and attracting our beautiful native birds and butterflies into close proximity with visitors.
    • Provision of well restored buffer zones will also provide significant protection for the core conservation areas of bushland by dramatically reducing the edge effect of development.