Saturday 30 April 2005 9.00am to 2.30pm $45
Visits to two small acreage properties evolving from former weed-infested grazing land into exemplary native gardens with 'Land for Wildlife' accreditation.
This tour travels to the north east of the Blackall Range to witness the transformation of these two small acreage properties from former weed-infested grazing land into exemplary native gardens with 'Land for Wildlife' accreditation. The 16ha Flaxton property has been weeded and revegetated with 19,000 trees, shrubs and understorey plants, receiving recognition in Barung's Landcare Awards. The 4.4ha Hunchy property features a combination of dry rainforest restoration, bird attracting gardens and home production with special consideration to a waterwise mix of local endemic species and selected cultivars of other mainly SE Queensland natives of no known weed potential.
Participants will also benefit from practical tree management advice from well-known and passionate tree-surgeon and arborist, Tony Wootton.
Revegetation at Flaxton
Tour Note: Good hiking shoes essential. Rough walking track along former cow trail and change in elevation require moderate level of fitness. Alternative easier route is available for those not able to venture on cow trail.
The owners have spent the last ten years transforming their 16ha property on the eastern escarpment of the Blackall Range between Flaxton and Mapleton. The land was almost totally cleared, and had been used most recently for grazing. Weed invasion and the steep terrain made it marginal for primary production. Major weeds included lantana, glycine, privet and camphor laurel. The site was chosen for a host of reasons (natural beauty, reasonable rainfall, and proximity to family among them), not fully realizing the magnitude of the task ahead.
Thus far the work has focused primarily on weed removal and revegetation of gullies and slip-prone slopes. Work expanded in 2001 following a grant given to the owners and six neighbouring landholders for rehabilitation of the Echidna Creek riparian zone at the headwaters of the South Maroochy. In 2003, Maroochy Shire gave a further grant under its stream protection program to extend the work upstream, and venturing even further this year.
With a total of around 19,000 trees, shrubs and understorey plants in the ground, improvements in water quality, land stability and habitat are dramatic. Many areas now benefit from closed or closing canopies, and natural regeneration has taken off. The bird count exceeds 90 species, with wallabies, echidnas, the saw-toothed turtle and the great barred frog all welcome residents. The owners' favourite recreation when not planting and weeding comes from watching for wildlife from the deck of the house.
Their goal is to revegetate as much of the property as possible, establishing large areas that will eventually become self-managing, and ultimately to have a covenant on revegetated areas that will protect them in perpetuity. Who knows how far we will get - there is a long way still to go - but with the help of younger and stronger people like Jolyon Froude and Kennedy Webb, we expect to carry on revegetating for quite a few more years.
The owners treasure the Landcare Award, which they received from Barung in recognition of their efforts.
This Tour involves a worthwhile short walk of about 45 minutes. For those fit enough to follow a rough trail with a reasonably steep climb back to the house, we will proceed into a nearby gully and return along the same trail as a round trip is too long. If there are any participants who are not fit enough to take the walk, they will remain in the garden area where a guide will discuss in detail the different revegetated areas. From the garden, a number of different sites are visible, including a view down the Echidna Creek Riparian Revegetation Project (the first five of seven properties).
A Work in Progress
Land for Wildlife property, Hunchy
A combination of dry rainforest restoration, bird attracting gardens and home production is the focus for this 4.4ha Land for Wildlife property in Hunchy. When occupied 7 years ago, the land was weed infested and casually grazed, a common scenario for blocks of this size.
Over those 7 years, several weed control and planting techniques have been tried. The soil is heavy though fertile clay, common on the eastern side of the Range, and prone to deep cracking in dry weather. It has proved to be quite a challenge but site-specific planting techniques have resulted in good growth. Many of the young trees have been propagated on site from locally collected seed.
A feature of the property is the expanding and definitely waterwise garden which showcases a mix of locally endemic species plus selected cultivars of other mainly SE Queensland native plants with no known weed potential. The garden and production area rely on tank water and ornamental plants have therefore been chosen to cope with minimal watering, usually only during establishment.
The property is traversed by a small but permanent creek and several dry gullies, all of which have provided different opportunities. Ginger and ferns thrive on the side of a shaded gully while local banksias and a variety of bottlebrushes, paperbarks and teatrees feature in open, sunny areas. A double-planted syzygium windbreak is progressively providing protection from moisture-stripping wind.
The choice of predominantly local plants has encouraged an increasing population of birds, especially small honeyeaters, to take up permanent residence in the garden. Whipbirds have moved in from the lantana as it has been progressively removed, and yellow robins constantly hunt insects in the leaf litter. Flowers and their nectar are available all year round with the fruit and seed of several shrubs providing an additional food source.
There is still plenty of lantana and other weeds to remove but staging of clearing and replanting has enabled the owners to "mostly" manage the maintenance whilst bringing the property back to life
Tony Wootton - Tree Surgeon
Tony Wootton is a local arborist and tree surgeon with a detailed knowledge of the areas famous hinterland cabinet timbers. His book, About that Tree, celebrates the unique beauty and grandeur of particular rainforest species in SE Qld and NE NSW, many of which were logged almost to extinction in the face of booming population pressures and a voracious appetite for their stunning timber.
Tony will stimulate participants' awareness of native rainforest trees as amazing organisms. In identifying and profiling the biology of trees, Tony will elaborate on pruning and proper tree care management in gardening and land revegetation situations.
For EcoTour bookings or for further information about the Maleny Wood Expo 2005, contact the Wood Expo office on (07) 5429 6566, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our web-site www.malenywoodexpo.com
Maleny Wood Expo 2005 Eco Tour Program
Tour Guide :||: EcoHousing :||: EcoGardening :||: Off-Beat Rainforest Tour
Farm Fresh Organics :||: Mary Valley Flavours :||: Café Latte :||: Farm Forestry
Flaxton & Hunchy, Not Assigned
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