Cotton Tree Bushcare Site

The area has both historical and environmental importance, so we are pleased that Council has set it aside to be preserved in this way. The freshwater dam was created by the early farmers, from a waterhole that had been used for thousands of years by local Aboriginals. The area, including nearby Corroboree Park, is particularly significant to the Quandamooka people even today. Early white settlers grew melons in the good soil, watering them from the dam. Many birds are attracted to this permanent water source, so the site is a good spot for quiet bird-watching.

The vegetation consists of a beautiful paperbark (melaleuca quinquenervia) stand around the waterhole, an area of reeds and rushes, she-oaks (casuarina glauca), and various large old eucalypts and other natives in the drier parts. Unfortunately, there are many weeds, some of which are escaped garden plants such as the invasive umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla). This is an environmental weed. Lantana, another weed, is growing thickly in some parts of the site. It will eventually be replaced with appropriate native plants to continue to provide a safe habitat for the small birds, marsupials and reptiles that live here.

The group commenced work on the site in February 2003. The waterhole had been used as a rubbish dump by Islanders in the recent past, and many trips to the tip were necessary in the early days. We then concentrated on the area along Boat Harbour Avenue. The slope by the road edge is particularly poor soil and we have removed weeds, re-planted with casuarina torulosa, and spread mulch. Casuarina torulosa is a good pioneer plant and the food tree for the rare glossy black cockatoo. Redland City Council’s Indigiscapes has provided these and many other plants, and this section of the site is beginning to look greatly improved.


These plants bordering Boat Harbour Avenue replaced various weeds, including lantana and silverleaf desmondium. They were planted in April 2004.

A block at the end of Boat Harbour (that was covered in tall ‘rubbish’ grass), was cleared, mulched and planted out in September 2004. Most of the plants are thriving and this section is now tall bush.


Bushcare workers planting out a cleared strip of land running between Boat Harbour and Corroboree Park in September 2004

In October 2005, an area at the end of the car park was also mulched and planted out, and these too are doing well.

In September 2006, we planted out an area on Boat Harbour Avenue that the Council had filled. This had two deep, steep-sided holes created when the Council removed soil many years ago. Appropriate plants were used in this often-wet spot, and weed mat was laid to prevent erosion and weed infestation.


September 2006 plantings thriving in filled land behind the waterhole

Further plantings were completed from 2007 to  2012, and many weeds have been removed.


In 2013, the Cotton Tree Bushcarers received an award for “ten years of valuable contributions to Redland City Council’s Bushcare Programme.”Islanders will have noticed the improvements to the area over the years. Several original members still belong to the group, and Joanna Hackett has been the convenor since the beginning.

Macleay Island consists largely of  building blocks too small to support bushland, in particular the old trees so necessary for nesting sites. As more homes are built on the Island, those few pockets of native vegetation remaining will become increasingly important, both for the enjoyment of the human inhabitants and the survival of the wildlife.

Bushcare workers have access to free training and advice from the professional staff at Indigiscapes. They are covered under the Workplace Health and Safety Act. Each group has a Convenor who prepares an annual work plan for the site, and an Indigiscapes Coordinator who often visits the site. All equipment and plants are provided by Indigiscapes.

The Cotton Tree Group meets once a month, usually on the third Wednesday, from 9 am to 11 am. We can always do with some extra help! Call the Convenor, Joanna Hackett on 3409 5522 if you are interested, or Indigiscapes on 3824 8611 . Please wear suitable gardening clothes and footwear, and a hat for working bees.

We are volunteers working to improve our Island environment.