By: Michael Fox

Sue Jones has, for years, been an inspiration for a wide range of Mt Gravatt community members from Meals on Wheels to Mansfield Melody Makers. My contact with Sue started about 10 years ago when she introduced me to the Habitat Brisbane Bushcare programme and mentored me as I established Fox Gully Bushcare.

S Star War of Trees 2 30 Jun 10Sue has been defending the special habitat of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve for years. However, she has decided that is time to hand leadership of Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare over to the next generation.

Sheamus O’Connor who takes over from Sue in July is a great example of the next generation of community leaders.

Sue’s Legacy

Holland Park Kindy Mt Gravatt 9 July 12 001

Checking out a native bee nest

Sue particularly loves introducing kids to the wonders of the environment and particularly our special piece of Australian bush right in Mt Gravatt. Holland Park Kindergarten Bush Adventure at Gertrude Petty Place.





Susan showing cut sapling


Bushcare requires a long term focus. Restoration of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve is repairing damage done by logging over 100 years ago before visionary Mt Gravatt community members who lobbied for creation of the Reserve. Sue builds on that tradition engaging diverse community members in the restoration: Griffith Students Deliver Results.

I have had the honour of partnering with warrior Sue to successfully tackle the ongoing problem of illegal mountain bike riding damaging plants and causing erosion. Threats: Downhill Mountain Biking, Trail Bikes & Unofficial Tracks


Sheamus building the Future

Nat Tree Day Planting Group Photo 2011 010

Mt Gravatt SHS Team

Sheamus also believes in community action to build our future and has been contributing to restoration of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve starting when he was still attending Mt Gravatt State High School. Mt Gravatt SHS students planting their future




Sheamus Water Warrior


Sheamus has already been identified as an environmental warrior.  Graduated from Griffith University Sheamus is now sharing his passion for the environment and science, teaching the next generation at Whites Hill State College.


Volunteer to help Sheamus build our future

The Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare team meets monthly on the last Saturday of the month 8am to 10am.

Grab a friend and join other generous and passionate community members working with Sheamus to build a strong Bushcare team.

More details see our Bushcare Calendar.






Sheamus O’Connor – Water Warrior

By: Michael Fox

Congratulations to Sheamus O’Connor who received the Water Warrior Award (Secondary) at Friday’s Healthy Waterways Awards.

Presented by Target Australia the award is open to to individual secondary school students who are undertaking activities that improve the health of our waterways and make a positive difference in our local communities.

Sheamus is a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, improving bushland and waterways in his local area.  Sheamus became a volunteer and member at the Mt Gravatt Environment Group and Bulimba Creek Catchment in 2010, assisting with the bushcare group every Wednesday after school, and on weekend working bees along side other local residents and the Rotary group.

 In 2011, on National Tree Day, he was responsible for organising 20 students, teachers and family members to rehabilitate the entry of the Mt Gravatt Summit track, in conjunction with the bushcare group. The area was quickly transformed from a weed infested eyesore into the makings of wildlife habitat. In 2012, he continued working in the area, training international and local students from Griffith University, and  again organised a group of students to plant in the area for National Tree Day. Sheamus represented the bushcare group at the 2012 Lord Mayor’s Diamond Jubilee Walk tree planting in Victoria Park.

Sheamus has participated in Clean Up Australia Day for several years, assisting with the Scouts who come along.  He is very mindful that litter on the mountain makes its way into the creeks and degrades habitat for wildlife and explains this to the younger children.

During 2011 and 2012, Sheamus has been a regular attendee at the monthly  Open Days at the Bulimba Creek Catchment Sustainability Centre. He has the role of introducing or thanking the guest presenters, taking new people on a tour of the centre and has given a presentation himself about looking after chickens.  He is very knowledgeable about native plants and assists others to make selections for their yards. Sheamus has also assisted the catchment group at an information stall for Green Heart Fair.  He talked to many people about bushcare, looking after waterways, and plants to encourage native species in the home garden.

In 2012, Sheamus was invited to be part of Council’s school holiday program, giving a presentation about chickens at the Holland Park library.  The children were fascinated with his chickens and the information given about their habits and needs.

His concern for the environment has extended to his own home, where the O’Connor family now uses many sustainable living practices.He has constructed fruit and vegetable gardens, a compost bin, worm farm and chicken coop, recycling as much waste as possible into the garden. The native gardens provide habitat for the endangered Richmond Birdwing Butterfly as well as the usual animals found in urban backyards.  He even persuaded his parent’s to install solar panels.

Sheamus’s efforts have been recognised by the Lord Mayor’s Young Citizen of the Year in 2012 and Quest Newspaper’s Young Star Community Award in 2012.  In 2011 he had the opportunity of meeting the Premier, and he took the opportunity to explain his outlook on the environment and the importance of people acting now to protect natural areas for the future.

Sheamus is a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability and has just begun an Environmental Course at Griffith University.  He is not only an articulate spokesperson for future generations, he is recognised for his personal contribution to the restoration of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Imperial Hairstreak - 23 Mar 2013

Imperial Hairstreak butterfly on Early Black Wattle

By: Michael Fox

We welcomed the Griffith Uni Bushcare Team back to Fox Gully on the Saturday before Easter.

Mind you, it took a while to get them onsite as we found some Imperial Hairstreak butterflies, Jalmenus evagoras, beside the track. It is always a pleasure to find someone else who can be totally fascinated by a few of butterflies, caterpillars and ants.


Imperial Hairstreak chrysalis protected by Small Meat Ants


Silt 100mm deep behind mulch filter

Imperial Hairstreak butterfly caterpillars and chrysalis are protected by native Small Meat Ants Iridomyrmex sp. referred to as Kropotkin ants. Read my article in Southside Community News.

The Early Black Wattle Acacia leiocalyx are interesting with their distinctive triangular stems.






The main project for the day was restoration and improvement of the “mulch filters” that keep silt from the dirt maintenance road flowing into the gully. The filters have proved very effective in reducing erosion and keeping the water in the gully clean.


Mirandha and Sheamus installing mulch filter

The mulch filter is designed to slow the water flow at key runoff points on the track, allowing the silt to settle out. Silt is already 100mm deep behind one filters and starting to support natural regeneration of native grass.



The original filters were made by simply mounding mulch at the runoff points as an experiment. Now that the effectiveness has been established logs are being installed to make the filters more permanent and allow mulch to be piled higher.




Sheamus and Mirandha - 23 Mar 13

Bush food snack


Of course after all the hard work a snack is in order. Mirandha try out the sweet roots of Blady Grass Imperata cylindrica.


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.

(l-r) Michael, Lord Mayor Quirk, Sheamus

I was honoured on Friday night to join Sheamus O’Connor at the Cliff’s Cafe for the 2012 Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards.

Sheamus and I joined an inspiring group of Award winners honoured for their volunteer work after the January flood, protecting the Gateway Bridge from 150 metre section of the Riverwalk during the flood or helping disadvantaged people reconnect through a street soccer program.

Sheamus O'Conner, Young Citizen of the Year

The Lord Mayor honoured Sheamus, Mt Gravatt State High School Year 11 student, as Young Citizen of the Year for his passionate advocacy for the envirionment including his personal contribution to the restoration of Mt Gravatt Reserve. 2011 National Tree Day Sheamus led a team of fellow students and teachers in rehabilitating the degraded area at the entry to the Summit Track. Within an hour the area had been transformed from a barren wasteland into the makings of a great piece of wildlife habitat.

As a communty we can be proud to be represented by Sheamus who demonstrated his leadership style in his response to the Lord Mayor’s presentation.

(l-r) Michael, Cr Krista Adams, Sheamus

I was honoured to by presentation the Lord Mayor’s Green Heart Award in recognition of restoration work in the Fox Gully Bushcare area, flora and fauna research, ongoing community education with wildlife articles in Southside Community News and presentations at Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed and Griffith University Eco-Centre. The presentation of beautifully wrapped green watering can and tools added a nice bit of fun.

We particularly want to accknowledge the ongoing support Cr Krista Adams.