I am proud to represent our community as President of Mt Gravatt Environment Group and sharing the latest news with this blog. However I have been struggling with how to report on commitments of our local candidates in next Saturday’s election.

The latest news reported on the B4C website gave me the direction I needed:

“MEG is proving a major force for the environment and its work for Mt Gravatt Outlook Nature Reserve should be  recognised and supported.

The support must now come from the  community and this will hopefully lead our elected representatives into actions to protect the mountain and support its volunteer initiatives.”

Representing Mt Gravatt Environment Group I have received strong commitments from both Phil Reeves (ALP) and Ian Walker (LNP).

To help community members make their own decisions I have attached the key information provided by our candidates.

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LNP PolicyFactsheet_EveryEnviro_2pgFINAL

Saturday 26 December – Morning tea after a morning pulling weeds and planting at Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare. A simple happy and appropriate way to celebrate another successful year.

Our Gertrude Petty Place team have been steadily cleaning up the gullies and doing restoration planting. To October the team has put in 211 volunteer hours and planted 249 native plants most of which were propagated by the team members themselves.

Female - Spotted Pardalote - Photo A Kittila

Missing from the photo are Sheamus O’Connor who organised the Mt Gravatt SHS planting at the start of the Summit Track and Brett Dugdale – Rover Street Bushcare … and Kate Flink our wonderful BCC Habitat Brisbane Officer who was taking the photo.

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Black-faced Monarch - Photo A Kittila

It is important to note that 211 volunteer hours is only the time spent on-site. As well as that time our volunteers spend time on propagation, talking to school and community groups, applying for grant funding, preparing track guides and coordinating corporate groups like Conservation Volunteers Australia and McGregor Lions.

Others generously contribute information and photos of wildlife like the Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus and Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis. Andrea has added three bird species to our Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve bringing our count to fifty one bird species in the Reserve.

The researchers have finshed and the report is now available to help us plan restoration of our wildlife corridors and provide scientific evidence to support funding applications to support implementation of our Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan.

The report was prepared by Biodiversity Assessment and Management Pty Ltd with funding provided by the Department of Environment. Click on link to download a copy Mimosa Creek Precinct Flora & Fauna Assessment Nov 2011

Koala sightings Fox Gully

The report assessed the potential for the development of three potential wildlife corridors linking Mt Gravatt Reserve with Mimosa Creek. Koalas are breeding on Mt Gravatt and already starting to move into the Fox Gully corridor, see map, so our initiatives like our Community Gully Day are increasing important.

This research and report was made available through the strong support provided by Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C), Griffith University School of Environment and EcoCentre, Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club (BOIC), and Cr Krista Adams.

Particular thanks to our local state MP Phil Reeves and past Environment Minister, Hon Kate Jones who supported our application for research funding.

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A Blue Banded Bee – Amegilla cingulata getting nectar from one of our special Bottle Brush Grass Tree – Xanthorrhoea macronema.

It is particularly pleasing to photograph my first Blue Banded Bee today because I am currently writing an article on Pollinator Links for the Southside Community News. Pollinator Links are a form of wildlife corridor that has potential to work in our fragmented urban landscape and they are a key strategy in our Mt Gravatt Showgrounds Precinct Landscape Plan.

Blue Banded Bees are an Australian native bee and an important pollinator of our food crops like tomatoes. Some plants will only release pollen when the flower is vibrated rapidly – buzz pollination.

The importance of these and other native buzz pollinators is highlighted by the fact that the commercial honey bee – Apis mellifera, cannot perform buzz pollination. The Blue Banded Bees website cites significant benefits for crops such as tomatoes, kiwi fruit, eggplants and chillies. Blue Banded Bees are thought to improve yields in Australia by at least 30% overall.

I also managed to photograph one of our beautiful Variegated Fairy Wrens Malurus lamberti. A male in full breeding colour. There was a least one female around but she would not sit still for a photo. These delicate little birds like scrubby areas where they are safe from predators, often Lantana. So part of our bush restoration work is ensuring there is that there is replacement habitat established before we remove large areas of Lantana. As we establish Pollinator Links we aim to bring special birds like these back into our community backyards.

Brett with Koala Mum in background (top right)

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We know that Koalas are breeding on Mt Gravatt. We are getting regular reports of sightings from all around the mountain and I have even woken to find a young male climbing onto the deck at night. However, today, our Rover Street Bushcare co-ordinator, Brett Dugdale, shared something I have never seen before: a mother and joey together.

In Mt Gravatt we live only ten kilometres from Brisbane CBD and we have Koalas in our “backyard”. As a community we are stewards of a truly unique piece of Australian bush habitat.

I am honoured to know Brett. He is not only passionate about protecting and restoring the mountain habitat; he also brings a wealth of practical restoration experience gained working with Bulimba Creek Catchment Co-ordinating Committee (B4C).

Brett notes that the Brisbane City Council fox eradication program – seven foxes have been removed from Mt Gravatt Reserve in the last twelve months – is having a positive effect on the mountain wildlife. However, as Koala numbers increase,  conflict with domestic pets will become an increasing problem: a young Koalawas attacked by a dog in a local backyard last week. That lucky Koala was OK after being checked out by RSPCA vets and returned to the mountain.

Please keep your dogs on-leash when walking in the Reserve and of course carry bags for dog droppings. Koalas tend to avoid areas where they can smell dog droppings so if we want to encourage Koalas we need to clean up after our dogs.

If you find any injured wildlife in the Brisbane area you can call the BCC Wildlife Ambulance – BCC Call Centre 3403 8888.

Andrea, from Griffith University, has reported that two Spectacled Monarchs Monarcha trivigatus were sighted  on the mountain over a couple of days last week. They’re normally found in wet forest and rainforest, so this is an unexpected sighting.

Andrea is keen to know if there have been any other sightings of this special bird. Please email any sightings of Monarchs to megoutlook@gmail.com  – photos are great however even date, time and approximate location are valuable.

Other wildlife sightings are also welcome: like the Koala Amanda spotted crossing the Motorway onramp last week. He made it safely across the road and quickly climbed the nearest tree.

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.