By: Michael Fox

Southern Star - January 16, 2013

Southern Star – January 16, 2013

We host international students at times and today we received a note from the Japanese student who will be living with us during February. One thing she was very clear about: “I want to see a Koala.” With latest sighting, reported this week, of a Koala in a tree beside the footpath leading to Griffith University Bus Station there is an increasing chance that she will see a Koala on the way to university.

It really is fun to watch international students/visitors when they see a Koala just sitting (usually sleeping) in a tree or an Echidna walking across the track … and not a zoo keeper in sight. The most amazing experience though was watching Jian, an international student from Shanghai, when he came face to face with a Koala right on our back deck.

Southern Star - January 16, 2013

Southern Star – January 16, 2013

You can get involved with bush restoration,  reporting any Koala sightings on Koala Tracker or simply slowing down and reporting sick or injured wildlife to 1300 ANIMAL 24/7.

The Southern Star interview with Adrian Schrinner and Natalie Forrest is very valuable in building community awareness. However, it is not only out at Gumdale and Chandler that we need to be increasing careful if we want to have Koalas living in our backyards. We have had one Koala killed on Klumpp Road and another rescued on Creek Road after a car strike.

Read Harry Brampton’s Southern Star story online or forward the link to your overseas friends.

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By: Michael Fox

  • Drive with Tim Cox – 3:00pm-6:00pm

Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve is high value habitat hosting 265 native plant species, forty-five butterfly species, Echidnas and breeding Koalas, all just ten minutes from Brisbane CBD. However, there are three key threats to the health of the conservation reserve:

Tim Cox, 612 ABC Drive, interviewed me yesterday about the damage caused by illegal downhill mountain biking.

Listen to the interview.

By Michael Fox

Our community can be proud of the young people on the front page of the Southern Star this week, and, the article suggests, we can have hope for some amazing futures to be created by them.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group and our sponsor, Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee(B4C), are particularly proud of YoungStar Community winner, Sheamus O’Connor.

More than 100 years before Sheamus was born, in July 1893, Queensland Premier Thomas McIlwraith “… in recognition of the resolve of the settlers, divided off 132 acres of the land [timber reserve], including Mt Gravatt Mountain, from the railway timber reserve.” Mt Gravatt Then & Now Mt Gravatt Historical Society.

The vision of community members over 100 years ago means that today our community has Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve, a unique habitat with Echidnas, Koalas and forty-five butterfly species only ten minutes from the Brisbane CBD.

In another 100 years our Mt Gravatt community will reflect on the vision and commitment of young people like Sheamus who can see the value in being actively involved in restoration and protection of this unique habitat.

Echidna - Photo Bill Semple


Phil Reeves
, State Member for Mansfield, has now confirmed funding for our key research project: Flora and Fauna Assessment – Management Issue Identification and Fauna Movement Solutions.

This research,  to be conducted by respected professionals at Biodiversity Assessment and Management Pty Ltd, is a key part of our Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan. The southern face of Mt Gravatt, adjoining Klumpp Road, includes three strategic wildlife corridors which have the potential to link Mt Gravatt Reserve with Mimosa/Bulimba Creek and Toohey Forest habitats.

Imperial Hairstreak - Photo Sue Jones

Environmental restoration and long-term protection of our mountain habitat will strengthen existing populations of Koalas, Echidnas, Gliders and a wide diversity of birds and butterflies. A unique bushland experience right in our suburbs and only ten minutes from Brisbane CBD.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group is developing long term strategic plans for restoration and protection of Mt Gravatt Reserve through consolidation of existing habitat parcels and creation of wildlife links between habitat parcels. Queensland Government funding for this research will complement the strong community commitment represented by over 4,000 hours of volunteer labour and commitment of sixteen private property owners to restoration of their land in the Fox Gully and Firefly Gully wildlife corridors.

(l-r) Hon Kate Jones, Helen Schwencke, Michael Fox, Hon Phil Reeves

On behalf of our Mountain community, I thank Phil Reeves and his electoral office team for their ongoing support and encouragement. I also thank the Hon Kate Jones, Member for Ashgrove, who in her role as Minister for Environment and Resource Management visited Mt Gravatt Outlook then approved our research funding. In her letter, Kate acknowledged “The strong commitment and efforts of the community group for restoring, strengthening and linking Mimosa Creek, Roly Chapman Reserve and Mt Gravatt Reserve.”

We can all be proud of the strong community we are building with the support of our government representatives.  Reading Mt Gravatt Then and Now, Mt Gravatt Historical Society, tells us that this strong community spirit has a long history with the Queensland Premier acknowledging the community commitment in July 1893 when announcing the establishment of Mt Gravatt as an environmental reserve.

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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Listen to my interview with Kelly Higgins-Devine: 612ABC Drive.

See our own local Glow-in-the-dark Mushrooms.

Join Mt Gravatt Environment Group (MEG) for Clean Up Australia Day 2011 and help clean up the habitat of some of our special animals.

Sunday 6th March 2011,  8 – 10 am.  Meet at the Echidna Magic Cafe on the summit.

Access via Mt Gravatt Outlook Drive (UBD 201:B2).

Click to Register for Summit Cleanup.

Mt Gravatt Reserve is home to koalas, echidnas, fireflies and forty-five species of butterflies.

Clean Up Australia Day is an opportunity to experience this unique bushland and improve the habitat for our wildlife.