Recently Dr John Winter and his wife, Helen Myles, who are long-term donors to Bush Heritage Australia, visited Cravens Peak as volunteers.
John, Helen and their wider family make an annual Christmas donation to Ethabuka Reserve, which John first visited in August 1985 – 33 years ago! He was a member of a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services Diamantina Fauna Survey team.
Prior to their stay, John researched his records from those early days to find notes and photographs and realised that their survey site was actually on Cravens Peak and not Ethabuka. The QNPWS team had established a site to the south of Mt Harriet and Mt Kate (Twin Hills), which are situated in the south-western portion of Cravens Peak Reserve.
A set of photos survived from that time and during their visit we were keen to match the photos with the current landscape. We were able to establish the exact matching location for two sites – one from the lower slopes of Kate looking towards Harriet, the other from the summit of Kate at 358o overlooking gibber plains and water courses.
The only detectable differences over that time were the presence of scattered Senna bushes on the lower slopes of Kate and an Eremophila bush to the right of the summit picture. The dead tree in the foreground of the photograph of Harriet had fallen down, but there was no doubt it was the same tree that was standing in 1985.
Data and notes from that visit have been collated as part of the natural history of Cravens Peak. Interestingly, back in 1985 the team camped at Marked Tree Waterhole, named by William Hodgkinson on his North West exploration in 1876. From his report it seems that the sisters have changed names or position.
John and Helen also conducted weeding at S Bend where we camped and at dawn watched the eclipse of the moon. They also visited Ethabuka and will be able to let their wider family know of the works programs in place on both reserves.