On a hot Dry afternoon a delegation of Councillors and CEO Peter Franks rolled in for a visit and orientation to Babbler Hill. The Councillors–Nipper Brown, Lenore Wyatt, and Mary Graham–were returning from an inspection trip to spectacular Mt Spurgeon, and were appreciative of the cool coconut water and shade provided at Babbler Hill.
Rupert Russell gave a bit of history to how Babbler Hill came into being. He noted the section of plantings that had been tenderly nurtured by long-time resident Allan Vains. Allan used to dispose of garden rubbish at the edge of the reserve and then burn it.
Once fire had been stopped on the Hill and Allan saw the bush and the wildlife start to recover, he changed his practice and became a staunch supporter of the renewal efforts.The plantings in his area are now amongst the most successful, perhaps thriving in the charcoal he built up over the years!
Rupert made the case that Babbler Hill was now a significant community amenity. The species chosen for the revegetation project are those most likely to have sufficient hardiness to adapt to the soils of Babbler Hill and the low rainfall climate of Mount Molloy. At least 66 species in 30 genera of Australian native plants can, in 2017, be regarded as established in these plantings, with several more species in additional genera planted but yet to be assessed for adaptability. A wide variety of plants have been intentionally chosen to provide botanical interest for all visitors, and in many cases a resource for local birdlife. Trialling of a variety of plants also provides information for other revegetation projects in the dry parts of Mareeba Shire, whether undertaken by Council or interested residents.
Council was also pleased to learn that the four hectares of native eucalypts, adjacent to Babbler Hill, referred to as “Tall Gums” by JAMARR, provides a valuable resource for birds and a variety of mammals, aesthetic appeal for visitors, and educational value.
Because both Babbler Hill and Tall Gums have been provided with interconnecting paths and tracks the area is attractive to any walkers, push bike riders and horse riders seeking to exercise themselves or their mounts in a pleasant area.
Council was also satisfied that sufficient strategic access tracks are maintained in both sites in case of any need for Rural Fire vehicles to intercept a wild fire.