Skip to content

The day the house arrived

Leanne Hales (Volunteer Coordinator North)
Published 22 Aug 2017 by Leanne Hales (Volunteer Coordinator North)

Thursday 17th August was a monumental day for Yourka Reserve. It was the day that the much anticipated staff housing arrived.

Three trucks, a crane and a house (in two pieces) arrived. Watching the arrival of the Yourka house was a little boy’s dream come true and seven-year-old Seeley Hales was front and centre from the second it left the bitumen near Innot Hot Springs to the moment it pulled on to the reserve five hours later.

For the 'big boys' it was a painstakingly slow and nerve-racking affair as the two semis transporting the house navigated 40km of dirt roads, two bridges, five creek crossings and five narrow gateways on their way in to the property.

Incredibly, no trees needed to be trimmed and the house snuck it’s way under and between hanging boughs with thanks to some precision driving and masterful directions. Even the low, curved bridge and causeway over Blunder Creek posed no problems for the highly-skilled delivery team.

During the weeks leading up to the delivery Paul had carefully prepared the road in to provide the smoothest ride possible, but the tractor still had to fire up at the last minute to smooth down a few of the sharpest 'whoa-boys'.

Whoa-boys are essential for directing water off tracks during heavy rainfall, protecting the roads from scouring and erosion but they're public enemy number one for a 16.5m trailer.

Knocking these down, to be rebuilt later, was a small price to pay to ensure the buildings didn’t twist or crack during the journey in.

Our hearts were in our mouths as the trucks pulled up out of the last, sharp creek crossing, with wheels spinning slightly and dust billowing. Slowly, slowly… then a honk of the horn from the second triumphant truck driver as he pulled up on to the home straight was met with excited cheers from the small crowd of onlookers.

The crane truck arrived just before 7am the next day. With short blasts on his whistle cutting through the chilly, morning fog, the man on the ground was able to direct the crane operator to lift, hold, swing and lower his precious cargo. They managed to position the first half of the house in just 4 minutes and 23 seconds. The second half took just under 8 minutes to touch down deftly behind the first, leaving a lovely “breezeway” of about two foot in between. Once the front half of the building was bolted down, the second half was then winched forward on skids until the two parts butted neatly together. Stage one complete. The house had arrived.

The whole process was incredible to witness and we feel very privileged that our family got to see something like this first hand. How many times have you passed a demountable building on the highway and wondered where it was off to? Well, this time it was coming to us!

Needless to say the kids have managed some pretty impressive show-and-tell recounts back at school this week!

There’s a little more work to be done before we finally move in. This week the join will be plastered and painted. Then there’s the veranda roof to go on, plus steps, guttering, power and plumbing. It’ll take a bit to hose off the red dust from the drive in and the inside will need a thorough clean up too.

On Sunday morning the kids and I packed up our shed beds for the very last time, knowing that next time we head out to the reserve we’ll be shifting straight in to the house.

I can’t begin to tell you how drastically this new accommodation will change our lives for the better, as well as open up even more visitor and volunteer opportunities on the reserve.

We'd like to thank Oly Homes for their patience and support throughout the project, the McMahon brothers who managed the difficult task of delivery without a hitch. Also thanks to the blokes from Dempsey’s Crane Hire who provided the best breakfast entertainment you could hope for and our mate from Malanda Rob Clarkson (from Jade Creations) who dug the trench for the power cable.

Thanks also to our builders, Kieran and Adam who've worked through the heat, the dust and the local lurgy (sorry about that!) to turn the two halves in to a home. They even made time to train up a new little apprentice.

Most of all, we would like to thank Bush Heritage and our supporters for making this significant investment to secure the management of Yourka in to the future.

Comfortable and functional accommodation is critical to attracting and retaining good land managers in remote locations.

This accommodation will ensure that Yourka will always find custodians to live-in and love her as she deserves.

The arrival of the house seems a fitting milestone in the same year that Yourka celebrates a decade under Bush Heritage care. Happy 10th anniversary Yourka, your future looks bright indeed!

Starting out on the dirt. A perfect day to deliver a house! Starting out on the dirt. A perfect day to deliver a house!
Kieran measuring the gateway. Kieran measuring the gateway.
Getting there... Getting there...
Paul McMahon directs his brother across the Blunder bridge. Paul McMahon directs his brother across the Blunder bridge.
Pulling out of the last creek crossing and on to the flat. Pulling out of the last creek crossing and on to the flat.
The Hales kids jump for joy. The Hales kids jump for joy.
Cranes lower the house. Cranes lower the house.
The two halves are positioned a foot apart. The two halves are positioned a foot apart.
Native bees were attracted to the sticky residue where the protective plastic had been duct-taped to the house. Native bees were attracted to the sticky residue where the protective plastic had been duct-taped to the house.
The delivery and installation team. The delivery and installation team.
We're in! We're in!

Related stories

Fire on Yourka Reserve, Jirrbal and Warrungu Country, QLD. Photo: Alistair Hartley

BUSHTRACKS 25/03/2024

Team spark

Teamwork, firebreaks and prescribed burning protects Yourka Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 05/04/2023

Subterranean science on Yourka Reserve 

On Yourka Reserve, far north Queensland, a group of scientists were trawling through the dirt, looking for fungi in 2019. What they found has been confirmed as a new species in the Austroboletus genus.

Read More

BLOG 08/02/2023

Fighting fire in the dry

A recent wildfire on Yourka Reserve has revealed the benefits of best practice controlled burning in tropical north Queensland.

Read More
Grasstrees on Yourka Reserve. Photo Scott van Barneveld

BUSHTRACKS 13/01/2023

Call of the woodlands

Sound could hold the solution, according to Bush Heritage eco-acoustic researchers on a mission to save Australia’s birdlife.

Read More

BLOG 01/09/2022

Platypus spotted on Yourka Reserve!

We recently found a Platypus in Cameron creek - the first record of the species on Yourka Reserve. It's a sign of good river health and hopefully, there are more sightings to come.

Read More
Paul Hales conducting a controlled burn. Photo Martin Willis.

BUSHTRACKS 14/06/2022

The art of burning in the rain

How aerial, controlled burning is utilising climatic conditions at Yourka Reserve on Jirrbal and Warrungu country in Queensland.

Read More

BLOG 21/02/2022

What has all this rain meant for our fire team?

The 2021/22 La Nina has brought significant rainfall to the eastern seaboard of Australia, while the west has seen below average conditions. Here are some weather highlights from the first few months.

Read More

BLOG 29/03/2021

Most Magnificent Broodfrog you’ve never heard of

A newly formed working group in north Queensland could spell good news for the beautiful Magnificent Broodfrog. ‘Magnificent’ is certainly a great descriptor for this little frog, which only grows to a mere 28 mm - about the length of the end of your thumb. Its vividly coloured body exhibits flickering and swirls of orange, blue, brown, and bright yellow, with a strikingly marbled black and white belly.

Read More
Leanne and Paul Hales at Yourka Reserve.


Yourka Bush Chat

In this 50-minute webinar, Paul and Leanne Hales (Healthy Landscape Manager and Volunteer Coordinator) share their stories with you direct from beautiful Yourka Reserve lookout.

Read More

BLOG 12/11/2020

Koala found on Yourka Reserve

Yourka Reserve is on the northernmost edge of the iconic Koala’s distribution, but we’ve never recorded a species confirmation… until we followed a late-night growl! After a spotlighting run at our Yourka Reserve in far north Queensland last month, some volunteers from Conservation Wildlife Management (CWN) reported hearing a distinctive call that they thought sounded like a Koala.

Read More

BLOG 26/08/2020

Siaming solo in 2020?

Annual 'siaming' at Yourka Reserve took on a whole new look in 2020. This year, for the first time in 11 years, we faced the daunting prospect of siaming solo. With travel restrictions in place to prevent the spread of covid-19, it was impossible to recruit a team of volunteers to help with the annual survey and treatment.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 12/06/2020

Six months on

Silver linings shine as Bush Heritage’s Yourka Reserve in far north Queensland regenerates following a significant bushfire last year.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 13/04/2020

My happy place (Leanne Hales)

My favourite part of Yourka Reserve is not actually a place, it’s a colour. Somewhere between blue, green, grey and silver is a shade I call Themeda Green.

Read More

BLOG 26/03/2020

Bouncing back at Yourka

Recent camera trapping at Yourka Reserve confirmed that the residents of Tiger Hill are bouncing back after Summer wildfires.

Read More

BLOG 31/01/2020

Bushfires update

As we enter a new month, I would like to take a moment to update you on recent developments towards our post-bushfire recovery. The devastation wrought has been confronting. My heart remains with those affected, those still fighting fires and those on the ground beginning the long process of recovery.

Read More

BLOG 19/12/2019

Feral fish & fencing at Yourka

I have a personal interest in fish and wetlands. Yourka has beautiful Eastern Rainbowfish, Purple Spotted Gudgeons, and Spangled Perch throughout its waterways, as well as Flyspecked Hardyheads, Olive Perchlets,  Midgley's Carp Gudgeons, Sooty Granters, Hyrtl's Tandan and probably others in some locations.

Read More

BLOG 17/12/2019

Adapting to 'black swan' fire events

Some thoughts on the Australian fire crisis and an update on Bush Heritage's fire control efforts by Richard Geddes, Bush Heritage Australia's National Fire Program Manager

Read More

BLOG 29/01/2019

Yourka detective work

What mammal is that? In partnership with WWF, Terry Mahney set up 40 camera traps on Yourka Reserve for 50 nights to survey for endangered species and got 150,000 shots!

Read More

BLOG 25/09/2018

Tea Tree Orchid flowers through the dry

Even at the driest time of year, there are species that thrive - perfectly adapted to their environments and the harsh conditions. The Tea Tree Orchid, found in the paperpark stands of Yourka Reserve, chooses this time of year to flower and is a fragrant and vibrant feature in the greying, dry-season landscape.

Read More

BLOG 15/03/2018

Wet season flooding in the north

This year the Wet season has been late to arrive but it's making up for lost time in northern Queensland. With daily rainfall totals exceeding 10 inches for four days straight, the creeks and billabongs of the Upper Herbert River catchment have surged across the landscape and turned the Yourka shed into a island.

Read More

BLOG 19/02/2018

Fairytale fungi at Yourka Reserve

The wet season in far north Queensland is the perfect time to go searching for fungi and the Hales kids from Yourka Reserve are keen to share their latest, exciting find.

Read More

BLOG 21/12/2017

Lessons from a bush classroom

Tassie-based volunteer, Kim Eastman certainly has a beautiful way with words. Last year her blog post about 'Grandparenting at Goonderoo' garnered comments and compliments from so many supporters and readers who share the value of a 'bush education' for our future generations.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 07/12/2017

Dealing with the devil

A long-term control program on Yourka Reserve is saving native animals and plants in Queensland from one of the world’s worst invasive weeds.

Read More

BLOG 09/11/2017

Fauna trapping at Yourka

After a successful field trip back in September, three environmental science students from James Cook Uni returned to help with Spring fauna trapping at Yourka Reserve. The students helped set and check pitfall, funnel, cage and Elliot traps over four consecutive trapping nights, and also conducted spotlighting transects after dark.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 04/10/2017

The gliders of Yourka

Australia’s blink-and-you-miss-it marsupial is the latest glider confirmed on Yourka Reserve, in far north Queensland. Is it a possum? A mouse? What is it?

Read More

BLOG 22/08/2017

The day the house arrived

Thursday 17th August was a monumental day for Yourka Reserve. It was the day that the much anticipated staff housing arrived. Three trucks, a crane and a house (in two pieces) arrived. Watching the arrival of the Yourka house was a little boy's dream come true and 7-year-old Seeley Hales was front and centre from the second it left the bitumen near Innot Hot Springs to the moment it pulled on to the reserve five hours later.

Read More

BLOG 01/06/2017

When geckos attack

Thirteen new fauna species were added to the Yourka species list thanks to a week of survey work in late May. The additions included four mammals, five amphibians and four reptiles, including this feisty little gecko, who likes to punch well above his weight.

Read More

BLOG 22/05/2017

Feathertail gliders confirmed at Yourka

Spotlighting again this week at Yourka and we're thrilled to announce there has been another addition to the species list - weighing just 10g-15g and floating over 20m between trees, it's the Feathertail Glider!

Read More

BLOG 15/05/2017

Night watch at Yourka Reserve

Reserve Manager Paul Hales has made the most of mild conditions and an extra pair of hands (Dr Steve Murphy) to conduct edge burning at Yourka Reserve. The night fire-line patrols were the perfect chance to spotlight for both native and feral species. Freshly burnt country draws predators such as cats, dingoes and owls and reserve staff don't miss the chance for opportunistic feral animal control or additions to the species list.

Read More

BLOG 18/10/2016

(Little) man on a mission

The billabongs of Sunday Creek valley are a well-known feature of Yourka Reserve in far north Queensland, so when our friends from the Australian and New Guinea Fishes Association (ANGFA) recently told us that there were feral fish present in the one below the Yourka shed we were a bit disappointed.

Read More

BLOG 01/10/2016

Bowerbird caught in the act

According to the Field Guide to Australian Birds, the male Great Bowerbird is a sedentary fella who prefers to adorn his twin-walled bower with bleached bones and shells. But at Yourka Reserve, we know differently.

Read More

BLOG 05/03/2016

Conservation dogs at work on Yourka

Australia Day 2016 saw six keen CWM members and two scent dogs in training arrive at Yourka, for what is hopefully the first of many trips in an ongoing working relationship. New volunteers on two and four legs are going to help us step up feral animal control projects in the North.

Read More

BLOG 07/07/2015

Recognition as a Nature Refuge Area

One year since its declaration as a Nature Refuge Area, Bush Heritage Australia's Yourka Reserve has completed all NatureAssist-funded projects on the property, significantly boosting the Reserve's conservation capabilities and allowing Yourka to continue on a trajectory of sustainable land management independent of project funding.

Read More
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}