|Lucinda and Annie at Woolshed Flats.
When the McLean family moved to your Carnarvon Station Reserve twelve months ago, they discovered a very special place – one that thrives thanks to help from Bush Heritage supporters like you.
When Bush Heritage reserve field officer, Mat
McLean first drove onto Carnarvon Station he fell in love. "It's wild country,"
he says. "There are healthy bluegrass plains rising up to sandstone escarpments
and all you can hear is the breeze, the birds and the noise that you make
yourself - it's awesome."
Mat moved to Carnarvon, Central Queensland, last
June, with his young family - wife, Jo, and daughters, Annie (4) and Lucinda
They were amazed by the vast ranges and rocky escarpments, which stretch
over 60,000 hectares. "I love the cold, frosty winter mornings, which turn into
beautiful crystal blue days," says Mat. "Then the moisture and warmth of summer
makes everything bloom!"
A long way home
The family have never lived anywhere so remote. "We haven't had a mailman for eighteen months, and it's a nine-hour round trip
to get a loaf of bread," Mat says. The area's also had three exceptionally wet
years, which makes managing and living on the reserve challenging.
Jo, however, takes the isolation in her stride and
has sometimes gone ten weeks without leaving the reserve. "I think it's
exciting!" she says. "You really get to appreciate the remoteness and the
Her favourite pastime is an early-morning jog or
walk with the children. "We've seen emus out in the flats with their young;
red-necked wallabies lolling on the grass; and we have a resident sugar glider
in one of the trees close by."
Protecting Carnarvon's future
Though the girls are too young to help Dad out on
the reserve, they are already learning the importance of its long-term
"They can identify most weed and grass species and will tell you
about the impact feral animals have on the bush," says Mat. "They get conservation - why burning's important and what we,
together with all our supporters, are working hard at Bush Heritage to
For Mat, it's been a privilege to share
such a wonderful experience with his family. "Being together, watching the sun
go down over the grass - this year will stay with us for the rest of our
lives," he says.
Jo's top spots on Carnarvon
Carnarvon has been a special place of discovery for the McLean's. Here are Jo's favourite spots on the reserve.
The verandah lookout
"You can see the open flats, savannah woodlands and
the Brigalow. It's perfect at sunset when you're listening to the dingos
"This landmark changes so much with the seasons. It
looks amazing when the cold weather frost has just arrived."
The Channin Creek
"We've spent countless hours swimming, rock-hopping
and discovering this creek, which runs the length of the property. Previous
reserve managers and their families knew it as a dry creek bed, but we've seen
it flowing year-round."
How you've helped protect Carnarvon
Thousands of Bush Heritage supporters generously
responded to our call in 2011 to help reserve managers like Mat meet the
challenge posed by excessive rainfall and floods, bushfires and a cyclone.
Yourka Reserve, 800km to the north of Carnarvon, you helped to repair roads
after Cyclone Yasi hit the reserve in 2011.
This year's heavy rains at Carnarvon, however, have
continued to create problems and we're still waiting for dry weather so we can
repair the main access road. Bush Heritage volunteers have been unable to get
onto and around the reserve. "So they can't help us with vital work like our
weed control program," says Mat.
"The damage done to the roads also means we can't
access key parts of the reserve to carry out early-season control burning." And
since there is so much vegetation on the ground after three wet years, fire
management is even more important than usual.
But thanks to your support, Mat
has done the work that will help safeguard Carnarvon against destructive
wildfire by burning those areas of the reserve from a helicopter.
"Having the support to do this is essential
to the survival of this gorgeous place," Mat says.
Carnarvon Station Reserve was acquired in
2001 with the assistance of the Australian Government's National Reserve System
Page Last Updated: Thursday 21 June 2012