My happy place

Published 13 Apr 2020 

Themeda Green in the grassy woodlands on Yourka Reserve. Photo by Leanne Hales.

Leanne Hales

Volunteer Coordinator and sometime resident of Yourka Reserve

There are so many special places to explore and enjoy on Yourka Reserve. From the upper reaches of Sunday Creek where the milky blue water carves basins and caves in the conglomerate rock bed, to the wide sand bars of the Herbert River where monstrous paperbarks yawn across tannin-stained pools and callistemon curtains tickle the muddy banks.

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

Both muted and luminescent, it’s a colour that can never quite be captured in a photo or mixed on a palette – it can only be brought to life by sunlight, clean air and new growth on a tussock of native Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra).

I’ve often wondered why I have such reverence for this particular hue. It evokes feelings of strength and wellbeing in a landscape that gets battered by wildfires, cyclones and flooding rains. It’s the first colour to appear after the country has burnt. Themeda Green emerges from the ashen earth with the promise of food and shelter, resilience and renewal.

Leanne and Paul Hales who manages our Yourka Reserve. Photo Brian Cassey.
Leanne and Paul Hales who manages our Yourka Reserve. Photo Brian Cassey.

No matter where I am on the reserve, nothing makes me happier than seeing a vast carpet of Themeda Green stretching off through the woodland. The colour signals a healthy understorey, a solid foundation for the whole ecosystem and it fills me with a sense of peace and stability.

There are places on Yourka where the Kangaroo Grass has reclaimed its territory from weeds, erosion and grazing pressure. A triumph for nature and the management practices in place to support her, celebrated in my favourite shade of blue-green-grey.

I love the colour not only for its beauty but for all that it represents.