On a return to our coastal home after one of our valued caravan holidays in the forest parks of the Mary Valley area, the concept of our own nature retreat was an exciting retirement plan.
We decided on one essential criteria, a permanent stream. To find this was a challenge which took us to areas around the Caboolture District, North Burnett, Kilcoy and the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Our resulting purchase in 1995 of 2.66 hectares along the Mary Valley Road, with an unnamed creek, was ideal.

It even had a log cabin and a pine forest, which brought back memories of our years in Canada. It was not many months, though, before we realized that the pine trees were not the native vegetation we wanted, but exotic, and we set about removing over 200.

In the following years, we removed trailer loads of lantana and other ‘feral’ vegetation. The local Landcare group, Land for Wildlife and Council environmental officers inspected and gave planting recommendations, and a nearby farmer ploughed the areas to be revegetated.

One sloped creek bank area of the property was not accessible by motor vehicle so work was manual and strenuous. There were still many remnant natural trees and shrubs along the creek and a roadside reserve and this was a guide to selection.

At first there was no electricity to the cabin or land. We were challenged, but found that these challenges created greater appreciation and understanding of this unique environment.

Wildlife returned to the property following removal of exotic pine trees and planting of local native plant species
Over several years, through visits of several days every few weeks, collecting manure from the nearby farm, woodchip mulch from the mills, digging holes with shovels, etc, we planted a couple of thousand trees.

After about five years the land was completely revegetated and de-weeded and had interesting walking paths around and across the creek, flat areas andslopes. Monitoring of weeds and careful use of sprays reduced major threats.

Birds were an increasing and varied feature and even though the Bell Miners (bellbirds) are said to be territorial, they provided an ambience with their call. It was common to record 30 or more bird species each visit with the species varying each season.

Other wildlife included periodic sightings of platypus, andicoots, eels, echidnas, turtles, snakes, wallabies, bats, frogs, fire-flies, antechinus, gliders, yabbies, and many more interesting creatures.

The small creek was an amazing feature as it was spring fed from an unidentified source and had small cascades, deeper waterholes and flowed from one end of this acreage through to the other end with our land being on both sides, for much of its length. Heavy rainfalls had a scouring effect on some creek banks, especially on the sharp curves but the vegetated edges helped to prevent severe damage.

We found the neighbourhood full of people with a co-operative common interest, including the nurturing of a healthy creek. From 1995 to 2013 this was such a stimulating but relaxing lifestyle which contrasted with our beachside living. Feeling content with our achievements and experiences, we sold the property in 2013 being very grateful for our chance to improve, and to live in this special Aussie environment.

Article and photos by Beryl Davidson
Former Land for Wildlife member
Brooloo, Burnett Mary Region


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