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Yourka

Established:
2007 
Area:
43,500 ha
Location:
130km south of Cairns
Traditional Owners:
The Jirrbal & Warrungu people

On the way to Yourka Reserve you 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 Queensland Blue Gums line the rivers that run west, in this area feeding the Herbert River and its huge flanking Paper Bark and Blue Gum trees.

Yourka sits in the the Einasleigh Uplands. It also covers a variety of geology, resulting in a variety of ecosystems from tall wet eucalypt forests to open Iron Bark and Lemon-scented Gum woodlands down to riparian lowland woodlands.

Mature weeping paperbark fringing Herbert River, Yourka Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.

Yourka's residents comprise some 300 plant species, 140 bird species and 18 native mammals, including a population of Mareeba Rock-wallabies.

There are localised areas of granite outcrop with steep faces and occasional overhangs which they use as a refuge. The main one is Tiger Hill in the south.

All this is protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

Mareeba Rock Wallabies socialising at Yourka. Photo Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.

What Yourka Reserve protects

Animals: Red Goshawk (nationally vulnerable), Masked Owl (northern) (nationally vulnerable), Square-tailed Kite, Greater Glider, Long-nosed Bandicoot, Brush-tailed Possum at least 3 species of Night Jar and a variety of Quail and Button Quail species.

Plants: Trigger plants, Dodonaea uncinata (a rare hopbush), Range bloodwood, Boronia occidentalis (a rare boronia), Green truffle orchid

Vegetation communities: Moist eucalypt woodland, Heathy woodland, Gum-topped box woodland, Tall riparian forests, Bloodwood–ironbark woodland, Poplar gum woodland.

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, Grader grass and Lantana.

Fire management is particularly important for the control of Siam and Lantana.

Fire also plays an important role in regenerating tree and shrub species and stimulating fresh grass growth in the grassy woodlands.

Feral pigs, which damage sensitive wetlands, also need active management.

The Red Goshawk

One of Australia's most distinctive raptors is also one of the rarest. It's 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 only 700 pairs left in the wild) and very elusive (with its vast home range, quiet nature and habit of changing nesting areas).

Listed as vulnerable in Queensland, Red Goshawks have been spotted in the Blue Gums near the Herbert River. Square-tailed Kites have also been recorded. Such sparsely distributed species need large habitat areas, which Yourka provides.

A Red Goshawk. Photo David Baker-Gabb.

Cultural values

Yourka Reserve includes traditional lands of both the Jirrbal and Warangnu people.