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

Key threats to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve:

Southern Star 14 November 2012

Geoff and Jeanette are proud of our community and take great pride in their part of the Fox Gully corridor. So it is understandable that they get a bit frustrated with the careless behaviour of individuals rubbishing our streets, particularly when that rubbish will be washed into peaceful Mimosa Creek.

Changing the behaviour of individuals waiting for a bus stop can be difficult. However, an important step is to ensure that there is a simple alternative for disposing of their drink bottle or chip packet.

Mimosa Creek – Roly Chapman Reserve


Cr Krista Adams
has now committed Council to ensuring that the bin is emptied regularly and possibly replaced with a larger bin. Ideally a combination rubbish recycling bin.

Mimosa Creek, Roly Chapman Reserve just behind PCYC.

By: Michael Fox

Ready to climb

Some weeds don’t come out easily so extreme measures are required.

Dale, owner of Climb n Grind, straps on his spikes to scale this 20 metre high weed, an invasive Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis.

Chinese Elm or Chinese Celtis is a Class 3 Environmental Weed:

Starting the climb

“Thousands of small, orange berries are produced and are dispersed when eaten by birds. Celtis often grows in clay soils associated
with alluvial creek flats and gullies. It is an invader of riparian habitats …”

Sales of Chinese Elms have been prohibited for some years however this fast growing invasive weed is still growing in many backyards and spreading to neighbouring backyards as well as bushland areas like Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

In 2012 Mt Gravatt Environment Group has been working closely with BCC Habitat Brisbane Officers to remove large Chinese Elms within the Conservation Reserve.

Time to relax?

Invasive weeds are one of the three key threats to the long term health of this unique Koala habitat. So it is inspiring to work with community members committed to restoration of the Fox Gully wildlife corridor and paying for removal of these weeds on their own properties.

In this case Annette has contracted professional tree climber Dale to scale the tree and to deconstruct it without damage to surrounding building or fences and with minimal damage to the restoration planting.

Walking up a vertical surface

Watching Dale operate was amazing. Having strapped on spikes and hanging an extraordinary collection of ropes, tools, even a chainsaw, from his belt Dale simply started “walking” up the side of this tree, making it look as easy as stroll in the bush.

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High above stump of Indian Rubber Tree

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Climbing with full kit dangling

Towering above surrounding houses this Chinese Elm was significantly more than the 12 metre height mentioned in the DPI document.

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The stump of the huge Indian Rubber Tree removed in 2011 can be seen in the background and way below the branch where Dale is so casually standing.

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Ok we’ve cleared the low branches so it’s time to climb again. Note the fork that was above and to the left of Dale in the last picture is now below him!

Extreme pruning

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Almost finished

That fork is now far below as Dale climbs higher to do a little light pruning.

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Hundreds or even thousands of berries

Working his way back down cutting logs almost as big as himself.s

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The tree was covered in hundreds or perhaps thousands of immature berries that would have been spread by birds or washed down the gully to infect other properties or Roly Chapman Reserve and Mimosa Creek. Prior to targeting Chinese Elms for removal we would remove two or three hundred seedlings each year in each of our bushcare sites so removal of this tree is a significant boost to our restoration efforts.

By: Michael Fox

As reported in last week’s Southern Star, positive action by Brisbane City Council teams has reduced or stopped illegal downhill mountain biking in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

I inspected the tracks on over the last two Sundays and I could not see any

Southern Star – Letters – 22 August 12

evidence of bike activity.  Walking from the top with the Council Ranger we noted that the track is now covered with mulch and log barriers were in place.

When I checked the tracks from the bottom the biker bridge has been removed and I could not see any signs of recent bike activity.

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Barrier sawn-off beside No Bike sign

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However, I did find further evidence of past vandalism. A barrier had been neatly sawn-off and torn away from the post to allow bikes to exit to the road right near Gertrude Petty Place. This had been done so neatly that I walked past this before without noticing. It was only when I found the sawn section thrown into the grass that I realised what had been done.

Sawn-off and torn away to allow bike access

The barrier has sawn-off some time ago and this has been a well used mountain bike track coming out right beside a Council sign showing that mounting biking is illegal.

Council officers will repair the barrier to help ongoing management of this vandalism.

Report illegal mountain biking to the BCC Call Centre – 07 3403 8888

8:30am Briefing the team and taking their minds off the cold (Photo: Alan Moore)

By: Michael Fox

7:45am The first participants have arrived even before I have finished setting up … and it’s cold!

8:30am The team is assembled, time for briefing: we have over 200 plants ready. Plants selected included vines like beautiful butterfly plant Sarsparilla Vine Hardenbergia violacea, trees like Coast Banksia Banksia integrifolia
– food plant for Sugar Gliders, and trees like the Blueberry Ash Elaeocarpus reticulatus with its fascinating pretty pink downward facing flowers. Downward hanging flowers are a valuable food source in rainy periods when nectar is washed out of Banksia and Grevillea flowers.

9am Ross & Barry planting large Hickory Wattle (Photo: Alan Moore)

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9am Planting is well underway with people scattered all over the slope. Ross Vasta MP Federal Member for Bonner and gully neighbour Barry work together planting a large Hickory Wattle Acacia disparrima.

9:50am Miranda and Scott

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9:50am Must be time for morning-tea.

Looking around it is a real pleasure to see our neighbours engaged in a cooperative effort to restore this corridor for our wildlife.

9:50am (l-r) Alistair, Lyn, Ray & Trey

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Three generations of the Fulton family have been strong supporters of our restoration work with members involved in every planting day since 2008 when they planted two trees in memory of Lyn’s mother. Ray has also propagated Lomandras and potted Acacias that are now thriving in bushcare site.

10:45am Community at work

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10:45am Planting is almost complete so the team starts moving up the gully clearing Madeira Vine anredera cordifolia and Devil’s Ivy Epipremnum aureum.

Madeira Vine is a major problem in the gully, smothering trees and spreading aggressively with hundreds of potato like tubers which can each shoot into two or three new vines.

Devil’s Ivy or Pothos
is another invasive weed in the gully, climbing and dragging down trees. Devil’s Ivy, a common house plant, is also toxic to dogs and cats.

10:50am Ann Moran – Field Botanist

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11am Installing Men’s Shed nest box – a new home for Scaly-breasted Lorikeets

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10:50am Further down the gully Ann Moran a Field Botanist with decades of experience, generously shared her amazing knowledge of our native plants. I didn’t realise what looks like multiple leaves on the Black Bean Castanospermum australe are actually one leaf and if you sniff the end of the stem it smells of cucumber.

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11am Installing our first nest box. Logging and farming of the mountain habitat means that the forest is less than one hundred years old. Nest hollows typically start to form once trees are over one years old and then can take another fifty years to create. Therefore there is a shortage of nest hollows available for birds and gliders. Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed have now partnered with Mt Gravatt Environment Group to produce high quality nest boxes designed to the needs of local species. Scaly-breasted Lorikeets – all green with flecks (scales) of yellow on the chest, are smaller than Rainbow Lorikeets and have lost out in the fight for available tree hollows. This box with its smaller entry hole which excludes the larger birds will remain available for our Scalies.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group sell Men’s Shed nest boxes for $50. Boxes are available for a number of bird and glider species. For details email: megoutlook@gmail.com

11:20am Andrew with native grasses

11:20am Native grasses like Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima and Scented Top Grass Capillipedium spicigerum  operate as Green Mulch suppressing weeds, retaining moisture and reducing erosion. These grasses are also caterpillar food for butterflies like the Orange-streaked Ringlet.

Andrew get special attention from the photographer: his wife Kerry. A participant in our 2011 Photography Workshop has developed a real skill in capturing the moment and the wildlife.

11:30am Susan (left) and Don clearing weeds

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11:30am Susan Jones, Mt Gravatt Environment Group Secretary, pitches in with gully neighbour Don to remove Madeira Vine.

12noon Planting done. Now nature takes over to complete the job

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12noon Over 200 plants in place. Now we hand over the nature to complete the job. Come back for the 2013 Community Gully Day to see the results of our partnership with nature.

Thank you to all participants. It is inspiring to be part of such an amazing community event. Also thank you to Annette & Genevieve who hosted the event, Don & Clair, Ray & Lyn and SOWN who donated plants and Jason & Tash who donated timber for the slope.

Some neighbours who were unable to participate on the day made tax-deductible donations that paid for the tube stock.

By: Michael Fox

Our community speaks out against destructive mountain biking on Mt Gravatt:

Southern Star – 1 August 2012

Local Councilor Krista Adams has reconfirmed the Council’s long standing commitment to keeping Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve free of mountain bike riding.

Letter of support – Whites Hill-Pine Mountain Community Group Inc.

BCC Local Area Services are providing strong on ground action – closing illegal tracks, mulching damaged areas and increasing their presence in the Reserve to catch riders still ignoring our community’s laws. Riders, who apparently could not see multiple signs saying “No Motor Bikes No Mountain Bikes”, have now been told very clearly that off road riding is illegal and subject to $500 fines.

We have also received emails and letters of support by community members and groups heartened by our action and the support we have received from Council.

We are proud of our community

Track exit beside No Mountain Bikes sign

and appreciate the recognition of our work however we know from past experience that illegal mountain bikers will be back fast if we, as a community, don’t stay alert.

As recently as Wednesday last week, National Tree Day, I found fresh bike tracks on in the area just down hill of the water reservoir. I was walking those tracks to document the erosion and tree root damage caused by mountain bikes.

New mountain bike bridge

These were not just tracks cleared through the bush, I even found a what looked like a fairly new timber bridge.

Mountain bike activity in that area has caused erosion up to half a metre deep in places and extensive root damage to mature Koala food trees.

What action can you take?

Illegal mountain biking can be reported to the BCC Call Centre 24/7 on 07 3403 8888

Please be careful about approaching riders by yourself. These riders are already acting illegally and we have had a number of reports recently of community members being subjected to aggressive and violent verbal abuse.

Track erosion

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Roots damaged and under mined by erosion

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