Tucked into the hinterland of Queensland’s bustling Gold Coast lies Currumbin Valley Reserve, a tiny patch of regenerating rainforest protected from the nearby frenzy of development.
Long before human intervention reshaped this area, Currumbin Valley was part of the extensive rainforests of south-east Queensland.
Now, together with the adjacent Nicoll Scrub National Park, it protects a rare remnant of forest cover.
Although there’s evidence of past logging, Currumbin Reserve still harbours rare plants, such as the nationally endangered Sweet Myrtle and several nationally vulnerable species of macadamia.
It also plays an important role as a conservation buffer for the national park, which is known habitat for the vulnerable Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, and shows evidence of Long-nosed Bandicoots, Green Catbirds, Scrub Turkeys and a number of honeyeater species.
An environmental legacy
We have a local beekeeper and flower grower to thank for Curumbin Valley Reserve.
Dr Alex Griffiths, who passed away in July 1998, is fondly remembered for his unwavering devotion to the welfare of birds and conservation of the environment. He bequeathed Currumbin Valley to Bush Heritage in his Will and founded the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, which he also donated to the people of Australia.
What Currumbin Reserve protects
Plants: Smooth-shelled Macadamia (naturally vulnerable), Rough-shelled Macadamia (nationally vulnerable), Black Walnut, Fine-leaved Tuckeroo, Smooth Scrub Turpentine.
Animals: Currumbin Reserve protects a list of species similar to that found in the adjoining Nicoll Scrub National Park, including the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, Long-nosed Bandicoots, and Green Catbirds.
What we’re doing
With a small group of dedicated local volunteers and technical advice from The University of Queensland, we’re hosting a project to increase habitat for the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly. We’re doing this by planting the main food vine that these butterflies need to survive and breed successfully. We’re also removing invasive weeds to improve the habitat for butterflies and other native species.
The large number of invasive weeds found at Currumbin Valley Reserve is testament to the amount of human disturbance in the area.
Of the 71 weed species found on the property, those of most concern are Lantana and smothering weeds such as Perennial Soybean – a native African plant introduced into Australia as cattle fodder. Camphor Laurels, which can colonise and dominate regenerating and open forest, are also a major concern.
On the steep slopes we’ve had to remove weeds with great sensitivity and care to prevent further erosion. The good news is that, once removed, the recovering and mature rainforest is effectively shading them out.