Exploring Big Scrub remnants on the Plateau
Big Scrub Landcare’s (BSL) Executive Committee and dedicated members were presented a rare opportunity to venture to a number of important remnants during June. The aptly named ‘Plateau Tour’ was the first of many planned site visits in an attempt to see all fifty-three remnants currently part of BSL’s Remnant Care Program. This portion captured remnants on the Plateau across Alstonvale, Alstonville, Rous and Wollongbar. The full-day tour included remnants on both public and private lands from Alcheringa to Victoria Park – at least Vic Park was planned though our time ran short.
Alcheringa was first, a five-hectare remnant in Astonvale. This property is actively cared for by owners Roger and Laura, who are shining examples of landholders who, over many years, have put in a significant amount of work to restore their rainforest. This was a fantastic start to the day meeting landholders who are genuinely proud of their property and value the preciousness of the Big Scrub that they care for.
The group continued to meander through remnants dotted along Maguires Creek (including sites like Willowbank that have been worked on since the early 1990s by our bush regeneration contractors, members and partners (through Green Corps)) before arriving at Lumley Park, a well-known and highly visible site from the roadside leading into Alstonville. Stephanie Lymburner was pleased to share the rich history of this site, providing insight into the beginnings of regeneration on the North Coast, recognising Ambrose Crawford’s pioneering work at Lumley Park.
Brockley and Davis Scrub were notable remnants on the adventure trail. Both of significant size, 12 hectares (Brockley 1 and 2) and 14.4 hectares respectively, these sites have some extraordinary examples of mature phase canopy species. Charlie and Jenny, owners of Brockley, generously gave their time to show the group an Australian Teak – Flindersia australis that is old enough to have seen the arrival of Captain Cook. Stephanie Lymburner happily told the group that it takes five adults linking hands to reach around the base of this magnificent old growth tree. The beauty and generational significance of this remnant was further emphasised by Charlie’s recollections of his childhood, climbing the frame of a strangler fig towering high into the forest canopy and explaining that his grandchildren now share this same joy – this rainforest has lived through the generations.
This suite of sites is the first of many to be visited by the Big Scrub Landcare Committee and members. For some, this was and will be a chance to return to sites that have not been seen in years, for others it is the first time to see some of these areas. Big Scrub Landcare would like to thank Mike Delaney for sharing his decades of knowledge and history of Big Scrub remnants and collating current and historical information about each site.
Thank you Paul O’Connor for contributing the photograph of the group at Willowbank.