Photographer Wayne Lawler visited Brogo Reserve in the Bega Valley of New South Wales in June 2003.
There is no such thing as a casual stroll at Brogo Reserve. The land makes you work to discover its secrets. Everywhere seems either straight up or straight down!
The reserve spans three forested ridges topped with domed granite outcrops from which a hiker can look across deep fern gullies. The reserve then falls away through open grassy forest to the secluded Brogo River.
The intimate sandy pools and murmuring riffles of the river are bordered by towering old river oaks (Casuarina sp.) that dip their mossy roots into the clear water. This riparian oak forest is the only example of its type reserved for conservation.
Many of the other forest types on the reserve, such as the wet shrub forest, are also among the last remnants in existence. Over 90% of Australia’s dry rainforest has been cleared, and Brogo protects its most southerly extent.
Having walked through the sunny, ridgetop, dry grass forest with its huge forest red gums, drumming cicadas and busy thornbills, I headed to a granite outcrop to catch my breath and enjoy the view.
Below I could see a shady grotto under an ancient, contorted rock fig (Ficus sp.). Intrigued, I entered into the cloistered world of the dry rainforest through a veil of glossy leaves and tangled vines. Small, strange plants and miniature fungi grew among the mossy rocks, deep leaf litter and coiling vines.
An eastern yellow robin observed me quietly from a metre away and an unseen wallaby thumped away downhill.
I sat on a mossy log listening to a superb lyrebird and a golden whistler competing to be the best songster in the gully, and thanked Bush Heritage for preserving this diverse and beautiful part of our natural heritage.
– Wayne Lawler