Introduction: The initial concept for the Multuggerah/Meewah Nature Reserve took shape on the 13th of September in 2018 at the commemorative ceremony of “the Battle for Meewah”. At this event some of the attendees realized that there was an opportunity for the traditional owners to have direct management of a significant lot of land that was soon to be coming up for sale if it could be purchased. Referred to as Lot 41 it was the last wildlife corridor between Meewah and the native vegetation south of Withcott. Table Top Estate has over 25 recorded vulnerable or endangered species including the Koala which are under increasing pressure from the ongoing environmental destruction due to urbanization. As seen in the letters of support below both indigenous leaders and local environmental experts highly recommend that action be taken to protect this last wildlife corridor in the region in the form of a nature reserve with the traditional owners playing the central roll in the ecological management of the land.
Proposed Nature Reserve viewed from Picnic Point
With the growing urbanization/ecological fragmentation of Table Top Estate to its west and significant land clearing to its east the proposed nature reserve currently known as Lot 41 acts as the last wildlife corridor in the area. It connects the ecology north of the table top estate ridge to the ecology of the culturally important Meewah south of the ridge. Vegetation reports on Lot 41 show a good deal of remnant vegetation including koala habitat. In walks with indigenous rangers scar trees have been documented on the land.
Swift Parrot (Endangered Qld) Red Goshawk (Endangered Qld) Australian Painted-Snipe (Endangered Qld)
Location of the proposed Nature Reserve
As seen below, with a growing suburban estate to its west and significant land clearing to its east this proposed ecological reserve will act as a last wildlife corridor in the area connecting ecology north of the table top estate ridge to the culturally important Meewah south of the ridge.
The proposed nature reserve is the only remaining location where the local wallaby population can safely cross the ridge.
We have confirmation that the owners of the following lots of land are interested in selling to this initiative.
– Lot 41 is 66.47 Ha/164.24 acres
– Lot 78 602m2 – providing access to Lot 41
Lot 41 is by far the largest the most ecologically diverse and important lot of land. With the development of the neighboring housing estate known as “Table Top Estate” Lot 41 is now the only region where the wildlife may now cross the ridge. Lot 78 is a forested block that grants access to Lot 41, if sold for development it will be cleared. We recommend securing it as part of the wildlife corridor.
Proposed Nature Reserve viewed from Meewah / Table Top Mountain
Berghofer Drive Threatened Flora and Fauna
Reasons for an Ecological Protection Program
- The land will be cared for into the future through an indigenous rangers program with special attention on the threatened species and fire management.
- Reports show that there is a Koala population on the land with huge promise to do serious revegetation work that will increase Koala habitat. The land contains an area suitable for koala habitat restoration; and will result in the creation or improvement of connectivity, corridors and linkages between patches of koala habitat and/or KPAs; and can be managed to protect koalas and koala habitat from threats and threatening processes. “The koala is kind of suffering a death by a thousand cuts in terms of losing habitat,” – Dr Kara Youngentob, ANU
- This project has significant cultural importance for the traditional owners, it has received strong letters of support from the traditional owners organization Wirrinyah and the neighboring organization, The Bunya Peoples Aboriginal Corporation. Both bodies were involved in the recent cultural burn at Meewah (Table Top).
- The invasive weeds in the considerable remnant vegetation areas need to be removed. The Mother of Millions weed is spreading and urgently needs a management plan.
- This land is immediately visible from Picnic point. With the significant on going land clearing in the region it will be a great feeling for the people of Toowoomba to see a nature reserve running from Withcott to Table Top.
- The significant reduction of fire risk to residential development on the crest of the range.
- The need for research and management of any offset land to ensure adequate range for species diversity.
Lynda Maybanks the Managing Director the Wirrinyah organization says the following about this proposal:
“In 2021, Wirrinyah First Nations Conservation Services, in partnership with the Bunya People’s Aboriginal Corporation conducted a cultural burn on Meewah. It was the first time that a cultural burn had been done on the site since pre-colonisation. This was a very special moment and healing for our people, our ancestors, and our country. But the healing journey is far from over. It is important that Yugara peoples continue to care for Meewah and it’s surrounding lands to ensure it is maintained with respect. Ongoing maintenance of the site and it’s surrounding nature reserves would also allow for more community education about the history of the area. It is our responsibility to care for our stories for our future generations, to teach lessons of compassion and understanding. These are the tools for true reconciliation. If the lot were to be purchased by developers, it would be catastrophic to the protection of the site and it’s story. It is a massacre site, and it needs to be treated with the upmost respect and sensitivity. The most appropriate and respectful action would be for it to be purchased and turned into a protected reserve with a potential carbon offset program. Wirrinyah is a 100% Indigenous owned conservation business and Traditional Custodians of the Lockyer Valley region. We can work with companies who need to invest in carbon offsets through revegetation and cultural burning services. This would enable a sustainable program for the property going forward which is far more beneficial to the community than developments”. Lynda Maybanks Managing Director Wirrinyah https://wirrinyah.com.au/
Vision for the future
If we can establish Lot 41 as the Multugerrah/Meewah nature reserve overtime we will aim at purchasing other lots of land to increase the reserve.
The smaller parcels of land are
– Lot 105 is 20.94 Ha
– Lot 87 is 14.16 Ha
– Lot 356 is 7.07 Ha
This new owner is different to the owner of Lot 41 which is the major ecological asset. We are uncertain if this new owner of the smaller lots of land is interested in selling (we hope to hear shortly).
Our strategy is to secure the major ecological asset first and then focus on the smaller ecological assets