Yourka

Last updated on 13 Jun 2017 
A map showing the location of Yourka Reserve in far north Queensland.

Established: 2007
Area: 43,500 ha
Location: Far North Qld 130km south of Cairns

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Make your way to Yourka and you'll pass through one of the most diverse landscapes on the continent. Behind the rainforest of the eastern side of the great divide, the rain shadow brings the vegetation back to moist eucalypt forest and then woodlands. Tall white gums line the rivers that run west, in this area feeding the Herbert River and its huge flanking trees.

Mature weeping paperbark fringing Herbert River, Yourka Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Mature weeping paperbark fringing Herbert River, Yourka Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Yourka starts in the wet tropics bioregion and extends into the Einasleigh Uplands. It also covers a variety of geology that forms the range, resulting in a variety of ecosystems from tall forests to woodlands and low shrubby woodlands.

Its residents comprise some 140 bird, 18 native mammal and nearly 300 plant species. All are protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

What we’re doing

The property's pastoral history didn't involve large scale clearing, which happened nearby so it was quick to return to essentially intact bush land. But through disturbance by stock and vehicles a number of significant weeds established. Having removed domestic cattle, we're now tackling Siam weed, Grade grass and Lantana.

Reserve Manager Paul Hales battles Siam weed. Photo Martin Willis
Reserve Manager Paul Hales battles Siam weed. Photo Martin Willis
Fire also plays an important role in regenerating tree and shrub species and stimulating fresh grass growth in the grassy woodlands. Fire management is particularly important for the control of Siam and Lantana and Feral pigs, which damage sensitive wetlands, also need active management.

Like all large reserves, there's work involved in managing hundreds of kilometres of roads and fences – a couple of cyclones (such as Yasi) haven't helped us!

With help from local naturalists, volunteers and National Parks staff, our ecologists and reserve managers continue to do biological surveys and targeted surveys have been conducted for Rock-Wallabies and Quolls.

The Red Goshawk

A Red Goshawk. Photo David Baker-Gabb.
A Red Goshawk. Photo David Baker-Gabb.
One of Australia's most distinctive raptors is also one of the rarest. It's one of only three species thought to have been here as long as the marsupials and eucalypts – right back to Gondwana. It's the largest goshawk, the rarest (with perhaps with only 700 pairs left in the wild) and very elusive (with its vast home range, quiet nature and habit of changing its nesting area).

Listed as vulnerable to extinction, and endangered in Queensland, Red Goshawks have been spotted in the huge white gums near the Herbert River.

Square-tailed Kites have also been recorded. Such sparsely distributed species need large habitat areas which Yourka provides.

Cultural values

Yourka Reserve has sites that are culturally significant to both the Jirrbal and Warangnu people.

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