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.

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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.

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(l-r) Michael Fox, Susan Jones, Hon Vicky Darling MP, Hon Phil Reeves MP

Wednesday 15th, Sue Jones and I joined Hon Vicky Darling MP, Minister for Environment and local member Hon Phil Reeves MP, Minister for Child Safety and Sport at Mt Gravatt Lookout to officially present the independent environmental report: Mimosa Creek Precinct – Flora, Fauna and Fauna Corridor AssessmentBiodiversity Assessment & Management Pty Ltd – Nov 2011.

Like many visitors Minister Darling was pleasantly surprised by Mt Gravatt Lookout,  the view over the CBD with the ranges beyond, Echidna Magic Cafe and picnic area all within a unique habitat which is home to Koalas, Echidnas and forty five butterfly species. With two hundred and sixty-three native plant species this unique 66 hectares has 10% of the species diversity of the whole 22.6 million hectares of Great Britain.

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus - Photographer Alan Moore

Delivering this report is another step in a process that started in July 1893 when, in response to community action, Mt Gravatt was declared an environmental reserve. Prior to that Mt Gravatt and surrounds were designated as a railway timber reserve.

In 2012 the problems are different but whole of community action is more vital than ever as we work to build long term security for this extraordinarily diverse habitat by engaging private property owners, community groups, university and school as well as local and state government departments in a collaborative effort to restore vital wildlife corridors. Therefore Mt Gravatt Environment Group initiated this report as an independent ecological assessment of the areas of Mt Gravatt Reserve and Roly Chapman Reserve covered by our Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan, including potential wildlife corridors links. The report was half-funded by an $8,000  State Government grant which was matched by in-kind support from researchers  Biodiversity Assessment & Management Pty Ltd.

Key findings

Fauna and Flora Habitat Values

  • Essential habitat for Koalas within Roly Chapman Reserve can be preserved and expanded create wildlife corridors through Vegetation Communities 9 and 6:
    • Endangered habitat -Vvegetation Community 7 (pink); and
    • Of Concern habitat – Vegetation Community 8 (orange).
  • Forty-seven terrestrial vertebrate species recorded during field survey – two are considered species of conservation significance:
    • Koala – Phascolarctos cinereus
    • Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus
  • Nine species of Endangered or Vulnerable plants

    Topknot Pidgeon Lopholaimus antarcticus

    can potentially be restored by habitat restoration allowing natural regeneration.

  • Essential habitat for Tusked Frog Adelotus brevis – bushland to west of and including Fox Gully
  • Three species of mosquito eating micro-bats identified during field research:
    • o   Gould’s Wattled Bat Chalinolobus gouldii
    • o   White-striped Freetail Bat Tadarida australis
    • Eastern Bentwing Bat Miniopterus oceanensis.

Recommendations – Movement Corridors

  • Ground fauna, particularly mammals, have suffered series declines.
  • Corridor A – greatest potential
    • 25 metre wide corridor connecting old farmland with Mimosa Creek across Klumpp Road
    • Significant increases in useable habitat possible:
      • 9 hectare addition with revegetation of farmland
      • 4 hectare addition with revegetation of grassed and weed-infested area along Mimosa Creek – Vegetation Community 6
  • Extensive revegetation of farmland and restoration of grassed and weed-infested
  • Corridor B – narrow potential corridor connecting Fox Gully with Mimosa Creek
  • Corridor C – revegetation programs to complement existing vegetation

Report in Action

  • Findings used in submission for purchase of old farm as part of BCC Bushland Acquisition program
  • Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Planupdated to provide a masterplan for restoration and reconnection of Mt Gravatt and Roly Chapman Reserve
    • 18 property owners committed to restoration of Fox and Firefly Gully wildlife corridors
    • $8,000 contributed to corridor restoration by local residents

Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland, joined local member Phil Reeves and community members on Tuesday, for morning tea at Echidna Magic.

(l-r) Sheamus O'Connor, Premier Anna Bligh, Hon Phil Reeves

Sheamus O’Connor, Sue Jones and I (Michael Fox) represented Mt Gravatt Environment Group. Sheamus took the opportunity to explain his outlook on the environment to Anna. An articulate spokesperson for future generations, Sheamus’ credibility is firmly grounded in his personal contribution to restoration of Mt Gravatt Reserve. Not satisfied with joining the Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare team, Sheamus organised a group of fellow students from Mt Gravatt SHS to replant the degraded area at the entry to the Summit Track.

(l-r) Sue Jones, Hon Phil Reeves, Premier Anna Bligh, Michael Fox

I took the opportunity to brief the Premier about the wildlife in the Reserve and the baseline fauna and flora research being undertaken with a grant from the Department of Environment. Anna was particularly pleased to hear that Koalas are breeding in the Reserve and that the BAAM researchers had already identified three species of micro-bats and Topknot Pigeons previously unknown to be present on the mountain.

(l-r) Premier Anna Bligh, Michael Fox, Hon Phil Reeves, Sue Jones

We also presented the Premier with a reminder of the unique nature of this Reserve. The glow-in-the-dark mushrooms Mycena lampadis were only identified on the mountain earlier this year. Queensland is a large and amazing state so it is a real pleasure to surprise our Premier with the unique flora and fauna that can be found only ten kilometres from the CBD.


Thanks to Bill and Alison Semple we have photographic evidence that echidnas are still active on the Mountain.

Alison photographed this prickly character foraging for food last week. Bill and Alison were walking on the mountain when they were made this special find.

Echidnas Tachyglossus aculeatus is one the few ground dwelling mammals found in the Reserve. Commonly called Spiny Anteater, for obvious reasons, dig into ants nests and termite mounds using their long tongue to search out dinner. Like the platypus these fascinating mammals lay eggs like reptiles then nurture their young in a pouch feeding them on mother’s milk. It never ceases to amaze me that we can find special animals like this only ten minutes from Brisbane CBD.

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.

Mike

 

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