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Forum Brochures 15

This is the 16th Forum hosted by THECA. The first Forum was in 2000 on the topic Genetic Mix and Local Provenance: Implications for Bush Regeneration Projects.

Help us continue the tradition of sharing knowledge in the environmental sphere by registering for People Reconnecting with Nature here


THECA 2023 Forum flyer

Our CO2 Monitoring Project now has its own page

See all the latest data and other updates here


AGM Highlights

Thank you to our members who attended the AGM on April 27th, or sent in proxies, we achieved a healthy quorum.

Greg Siepen (President) and Ian Ferguson (Treasurer) presented the highlights of 2021:

We had a variety of speakers throughout the year, bushcare bees at the bottom and top of the mountain, several children's holiday activities, visits by Chapel Hill State School preps, nest box workshop and grants delivering new nest boxes/ weather station, the creative Art Show display, a field trip for WWII history buffs, the 2022 Wild West Calendar and lastly a spotlightling and moth evening in December. These offerings are for the 100+ members who support THECA and make us a community hub. These activities would not be possible without the help of our volunteers, we always welcome newcomers (especially a Newsletter editor) :-)

Congratulations to Dawn Muir, Don Sands and Lyn Cole who are now Life Members, contributing so much to THECA over the years as dedicated volunteers.

We farewelled Margaret Palmer who has been the Secretary and Newsletter editor for so many years. Her editorial skills, calm approach and community spirit will be truly missed. We wish her happiness pursuing other interests.

                                                                                  Margaret Palmer receiving King Parrots at AGM

After the AGM we enjoyed an excellent talk by Genevieve Deaconos from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, taking us on a virtual tour of the properties they manage throughout Australia. 

The questions at the end were an indication of the high level of engagement with the topic. 

Please join us in making 2022 even better!

Ryan Candidates Forum: Our Climate and Environmental Future

Please submit questions here

Candidates Forum 3 1

Spotlighting Spin

Species Spotlighting Special  

Maria Miller

December 15th, 2021, from 7 - 10 p.m.

 What a great way to end a full year* by merging virtual and real worlds while investigating night critters in the forest.

Twenty-eight folks from across the SEQ community gathered for an evening of discoveries on the western side of Mt. Coot-tha. We were based at the Hut, as THECA hosted the event.

Reps from the SEQ Spider fb group with great macrophotography skills, UQ PhD candidate Jessa Thurman (and entomologist Andrew Maynard), Wild BNE blogger Christian Perrin and Great Southern BioBlitz contributor Natasha Taylor where in the mix and made the evening worthwhile by sharing expertise and documenting finds.

Don Sands joined us with a specimen of an unknown species of Cossid moth (the larvae bore into trees).  There certainly is more to understand about moths, especially wood moths in our area. Click the link for more on Wood Moths. *Digression* I actually ate a witchetty grub while living in Yuendumu in the early 1980s, not really knowing anything about the creature it would have become. If you are intrigued, see Australian Museum info on Bush tucker. It was tasty toasted over coals on an open fire, and high in protein.

After a briefing in the Hut, we broke into four groups. A larger group led by Christian Perrin, comprised of families with young children. We were instantly captivated by the Botany Bay Weevil and Christian’s detailed explanations as we walked along the Rose Robin loop from the Hut. Wolf spiders, orb weavers, a single Cressida Cressida egg on a low scrambling vine and Boobook call motivated us along the trail. The youngsters were able to spot various lichen types - corals of the forest, and clean air indicators - as well as termite mounds.

A second smaller group, with Natasha at the helm, walked clockwise starting at the Honeyeater end. They too, came across the 30 runners with headlamps in addition to plenty of insects, spiders, and a scorpion they spotted using a UV torch (including a moult, ‘skin’ left behind when the scorpion grows). Keep your eyes peeled for a February Newsletter item by Margaret Palmer, as she was in this group.

The SEQ Spider members wandered off in search of quiet spaces where invertebrates, especially arachnids, might reveal themselves. They certainly found some spectacular specimens. 

Staying behind to tend the light-sheet equipment (kindly on loan from Geoff Monteith), were Jessa and Andrew. They welcomed us upon our return with an intriguing display. While Jessa and Andrew did not record the number of insects in a systematic way, they report that several varieties of insects appeared on the light-sheet. Most notably, there were several owlflies, stink bugs, and many moths. One wood moth (Culama australis) was found. This species is one of the many small species of wood moths and is one of the more common varieties. While none of the larger wood moths were attracted to our light-sheet, Jessa suggested there is evidence of them on Mount Coot-tha and future surveys should look out for them. 

We marvelled at the range of insects and moths attracted to the sheet, but the Emperor Gum Moth who settled on a shrub near the light was certainly the most photographed creature. Everyone shared stories of insect encounters. Such a group effort!











 Check out the results on the iNaturalist project Mount Coot-tha and Surrounds, documenting diversity and distribution in the area.

We truly appreciate your engagement.

Please consider joining THECA or an environmental group near you in 2022!

*2021 Newsletter content can be found under the Publications Tab. Copy for the February 2022 Newsletter is due January 5th.

Support for community activities gratefully received from Brisbane City Council and the Jane Scragg bequest.



slide art


2-4 October 2021
"The Wild and The Beautiful"

THECA is following the requirements of current COVID health advice from the Queensland Government.  To maintain social distancing there will be a limit of 10 visitors inside The Hut at any one time.  Visitors will be required to provide contact details as per Queensland Health COVID requirements.  Please do not attend the Art Show if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Artists are invited to enter art (drawing, watercolour, acrylic, oil, pastel, mixed media and sculpture) to the THECA Art Show.

Prizes: THECA will sponsor a $300 “People’s Choice” prize for the most popular painting. There will be a $100 “Gondwana Prize”. This prize will be awarded to a native flora or fauna art work.
Prizes will be awarded on Monday afternoon, 4th October 2021.

Show dates/times: Saturday 2nd to Monday 4th, October 2021, 9am - 4pm.

Entering art: Complete the attached entry form, scan and email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or post to THECA, P.O. Box 804, Kenmore Qld 4069.

Fee: $5 per art work. Two (2) art works (max. 55cm x 55cm) and one (1) art work (max. 80cm x 80cm) per artist will be accepted.

No commission will apply to sales.

Entry closing date: Monday 20th September 2021

Art delivery: Saturday 25th September 2021, from 9.30am - 11am, to THECA, The Hut,
47 Fleming Road, Chapel Hill Qld. 4069.

Collection of art: Monday 4th October 2021, from 4pm - 4.30pm.

Art Show Opening Night - to be advised.


THECA thanks Brisbane City Council for its financial support through the Environmental Grants program.

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Conditions of Entry 2-4 October 2021

1. Each Artist may enter a maximum of three (3) works, appropriate to the Art Show
theme. $5 per entry. The entry fee is not refundable.

2. No commission will apply to art sales.

3. The two (2) art works with a maximum width of 55cm and a maximum depth of 55cm,
and one (1) art work with a maximum width of 80cm and a maximum depth of 80cm.

4. Entrants should be over 17 years of age on the closing date of entries.

5. The art work must meet a minimum standard (at the discretion of the Art Show
organisers), and be appropriate to the theme of the art show. The Organisers
reserve the right to accept or reject any art work submitted.

6. Entries must be the Artist’s original unaided work. Copies of works by other artists
are not accepted. Paintings produced in workshops or classes are also not

7. Art work must be suitably mounted and framed (fitted with D hooks and wire, no
protruding eye screws), and clearly marked on the back of the work with:

a. Artist’s name;
b. title of work;
c. price.

8. The exhibition space is limited, so early entries are encouraged. A cut off to entries
may apply if the available space is filled.

9. Artists are deemed to have consented to the reproduction of their work for media

10. If Artists have business cards, they are welcome to supply them for display at the

11. THECA and the volunteers assisting at the Art Show undertake to exercise due care
and diligence with Artist’s paintings, but under no circumstances will be liable for loss
of, damage, or theft of any art works. Artists should take out their own insurance
should they consider it necessary.

12. The most popular painting, the “People’s Choice” prize, will be awarded on Monday
4th October, at 3pm. The “Gondwana Prize” will be chosen by representative/s of the
Gondwana Ecology Group, and will be award at 3pm on Monday.

13. Completed entry forms can be posted to THECA, P.O. Box 804, Kenmore Qld.
4069, emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Entry forms and fees
must be received by THECA by the closing date, 20 September, 2021.

If you have any questions about the THECA Art Show, or the suitability of art, please
contact Christine Zupanc at 0422 364 967, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Magpie Season


The Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen) is a native Australian bird and is protected under the State Wildlife Legislation (Nature Conservation Act 1992). It is a serious offence to harm magpies and penalties apply for attempting to harm them.

The Australian magpie plays an important role in natural pest management, as it preys on small insects such as mosquitoes and midges. Magpies can be beneficial to agriculture and gardens because they feed on pest insects.

Long-term conservation of this species is necessary for maintaining biodiversity, which is the variety of all plants and animals that inhabit our world.CW magpie


Magpies are a medium-sized black and white bird, with the following characteristics:

  • they are approximately 40 centimetres long
  • adult males have a white nape and rump, while females are grey in these areas and are smaller in size
  • their bill is grey-white and shorter in female birds
  • juvenile magpies have flecked greyish dark markings and dark bills
  • their lifespan is unknown, but some have lived up to 30 years.


Magpies adapt well to open and cleared environments and thrive in large areas of lawn that provide foraging sites, where there are scattered trees available for nesting, and water. They are very territorial birds, but outside the breeding season groups of up to 20 magpies may still congregate in rural areas.

Magpie nests are a bowl shape made from dry sticks with a lining of grass and bark or any other non-plant materials that the birds can find. The clutch size is usually around three to four eggs, though this varies according to season, weather, predators and the general health of the parents. Both parents will raise their young.

Problems caused by magpies

Magpies are well-known for swooping humans and pets during their breeding season between July and December, with the peak swooping month in September. This has resulted in the magpie becoming a nuisance to some people.

Most magpies will accept the presence of people within their territories, however when attacks do occur, they usually take place within a one hundred metre radius around the tree containing the nest.

While most magpie attacks are mild, they could cause serious injury to the eyes and head. Find tips to protect yourself against swooping birds.

What Council is doing

Brisbane City Council has adopted working towards a natural balance as the guiding management principle in the management of swooping birds. Find out more

What you can do

There are several things you can do to try and discourage magpies from nesting in your yard. Ensure you:

  • do not feed magpies, ensure no scraps of food or rubbish are left lying around
  • remove unnecessary sources of water from the backyard (if magpies are causing a nuisance)
  • do not remove nests or eggs and never touch a young bird. If you are concerned for the safety of the young, phone Council's Native Animal Ambulance on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
  • do not disturb the birds when there are fledglings in the nest
  • do not throw objects at the bird or destroy the nest as this will increase their defence efforts
  • expect an elevated level of swooping activity during the breeding season between June and December.

Find tips to protect yourself from swooping birds.

More information

To find out more information about magpies, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Magpie season NOTICE

Magpies swoop to protect eggs and young from potential predators during the nesting season. They rely largely on intimidation to deter human intruders by flying low and fast, often clacking their bill as they pass overhead. The sound of their wings whistling past, and the movement of air can be alarming, but it is usually just a bluff. Only a few magpies see people as a threat, and most will not swoop you.

There are things you can do to keep yourself safe:

  • Avoid areas where magpies are known to swoop for six to eight weeks until the chicks learn to fly and the problem ceases. They usually only defend a small area of up to 100m radius around their nest.
  • Watch magpies while you are in their territory and adopt a confident stance as this can have a strong deterrent effect. If they know they’re being watched, they are less likely to swoop.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses or hold a school bag or umbrella over your head.
  • If you are riding a bicycle or horse, it is best to dismount. For reasons best known to magpies, bicycles irritate magpies the most. One of the major causes of accidents following a magpie swoop is falling from a bicycle (or horse). ‘Spiking up’ your helmet with a few cable ties also helps to scare magpies away.
  • Magpies are less likely to swoop if you walk in a group. Team up with others if you walk through a nesting area.
  • Harassment by humans causes some magpies to start swooping. Please do not chase magpies or throw things at them and don’t fight back. Magpies have good memories so being aggressive towards a magpie will only make it more defensive next time.

Remember that the magpies are just trying to protect their young. Learning to live alongside wildlife is an important step towards building a better living environment and observing and listening to magpies can be an enjoyable experience. Taking a bird or nest from the wild is illegal without a permit and while such actions may temporarily stop attacks, it is better to leave them in peace.

August Monthly Meeting

Speaker: Tamielle Brunt

Where are the Platypus in Brisbane's Waterways?

Tamielle Brunt Talk at THECA


Bird walk July 2021


Morning Tea on the Deck

There will be a THECA morning tea on Tuesday 20 July at 10.30 am at the Hut. We haven’t had one for quite a while, so come if you can, and bring a friend or two if you like.  Come even if you're not a member but would like to hear about what what we do, or catch up with old friends. 
Bring a small nibbly to share and have a cuppa and catch up with others on our beautiful deck.
Covid safe surrounds 

July Monthly Meeting

JWatson Talk 28 July short version

Brisbane City Council News

No BCC Funding for Off-road Cycling in Pullenvale Ward

Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner announced that $500,000 would be spent on off-road cycling in the Brisbane City Council 2021-22 Budget.  In response to a query from THECA as to whether any funds from the 2021-22 budget will be spent on off-road cycling in the Pullenvale Ward, the Ward office responded by saying:

“Councillor Adermann advises that while he is aware of this allocation, he has not been told as to what and where this money will be spent.

He did not lobby for any budget funding for off-road cycling activities in the Pullenvale Ward budget.

He suspects none of this funding has been allocated within the Pullenvale Ward as he would have been told, but is seeking clarification on where the $500,000 will be spent and on what.”

Sisters of Mercy (Catholic Order of Nuns) Site*

Address: 371 Simpsons Road, Bardon

Area: Almost 15 ha (half the size of Mt Coot-tha Quarry)

Pullenvale Ward Councillor, Greg Adermann has said in a response to a query from THECA President Greg Siepen on 28th June, 2021, that:

“I have discussed this matter with Cr. Peter Matic, within whose Ward of Paddington this property sits.

Along with Cr. Steve Toomey from the Gap Ward, we understand the ecological importance of this property.

Our belief is given it’s surrounded by other properties owned by the State, that it should be purchased by them and absorbed into their other Mount Coot-tha assets.

Together with Crs. Matic and Toomey, we will seek a meeting with the Lord Mayor to discuss this further.”


*The site is on a huge block of bushland right across Simpsons Rd from suburban homes in Bardon, and next to the entrance to the walking tracks in Brisbane Forest Park. It is just west of Purtell Park and north of Stuartholme school. Something for the BCC Bushland Acquisition Fund, perhaps?

Sisters of Mercy site

May Monthly Meeting

THECA will hold its May monthly meeting on Wednesday 26 May. Speaker will be Dr David Viano.



Dr David Viano of the Division of Energy Technology, CSIRO, is a research scientist and part of a team developing a new membrane technology to make the production of hydrogen fuel easier. A demonstration of the membrane technology has already taken place at the Pullenvale site.

The hydrogen which Dr Viano’s team is producing is used in fuel cell (FC) electric vehicles. FC cars have an electric motor, use no petrol, and have no batteries, instead running on a tank of hydrogen and a fuel cell.

CSIRO is developing a hydrogen mission that will bring together industry, government and other research organisations to deliver research, development and demonstration projects.

Everyone is invited!





Easter Activity - Mt Coot-tha Seed Podcast

Theca Easter2021 seedpodcastPerplexed by the odd seed pods on the ground?
What stories would they tell us about their adventurous travels?

Come and find out how our native plants reproduce and how insects help to disperse their seeds. Handcraft, science experiments in the forest, and microscope observations will take place both indoors and outdoors.

- Download our Seed Pod Cast activity flyer here.
- View our Seed Pod Cast activity flyer here.

Who: Primary school-aged children
When: Tuesday 6 April 2021, 9.30 AM-12 PM
Where: The Hut, 47 Fleming Rd, Chapel Hill
Bring: snack, water bottle, hat, enclosed shoes
Cost: $15 (free for THECA members

We acknowledge that the Hut is on Yugarra and Turrbal country.
We pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.

Our children’s activities are made possible by Jane Scragg’s bequest to THECA. THECA also appreciates the support of Brisbane City Council. Activities will be conducted by volunteers with blue cards and will occur rain or shine. A COVID-safe plan based on Queensland Health guidelines will be implemented.

QR registration Easter2021Registration is required using the QR code or on the website . Payment details are on the registration page. Note that all activities are free for THECA members and you can subscribe for membership to THECA at 

We ask that you please contact us if you wish to cancel your registration so that your spot can be freed up for someone else.
Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 0432 275 571 for more information.

THECA follows Queensland Health Covid-19 directives for all events and activities. To check the current status of Covid-19 directives from Queensland Health, visit:

A Feb '21 Birdwalk Report - Anstead

Birdwalk Saturday 30 January at Moggill Forest Reserve, Mill Road, Anstead

This walk, led by Dawn Muir, was particularly notable because of the large number of butterflies which flew around at all levels including the tree tops. They were mainly Blue Tigers, whose main larvae host plant is Corky Milk Vine (Secamone elliptica). High rainfall this summer may have something to do with the large numbers. A huge number of cicadas, all singing in deafening unison, also made themselves obvious throughout the walk.

At the beginning of the walk we saw a dead tree with holes which were being used as a nesting site by a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, which we both saw and heard. There was another tree with a termite mound on it with a hole in suggesting that it was used by kookaburras for the same purpose. The walk was bordered by a bank on which we saw several holes, which Dawn considered may have originally been made by a Pardalote, but hollowed out further by something else.

We heard a large number of Whipbirds calling all along the track, and managed to see one. Sadly, missing throughout the walk was any kind of fairy wren. There had been a number in the past. We saw and heard a Large-billed Scrub-wren, Kookaburras, Noisy Miners, Lewin’s Honeyeaters, Little Friarbird (a pair), Brown Thornbill, Magpie, White-throated Treecreeper (possibly a juvenile), Olive-backed Oriole (heard many, and saw a female), a Currawong, and a Brown Thornbill.

We saw an Eastern Yellow Robin, Rufous Fantail, a female Golden Whistler, and a Large-billed Scrubwren.

We heard a Spangled Drongo, a Striated Pardalote, Wongas, possibly a Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Noisy Friarbird, a Channel-billed Cuckoo, Grey Shrike-Thrush, Peaceful Dove, a Koel, a Cicada Bird, a White-browed Scrubwren.

There was an enormous amount of Green Panic Grass, upon which we saw a green caterpillar with purple antennae.

Geckoes Wildlife Show by Martin Fingland

THECA will be holding a wildlife show run by well-known wildlife expert Martin Fingland, of “Geckoes Wildlife”, on Sunday 16 August. Come and meet a range of Australian native animals, and learn fascinating things about them.

Martin will run 2 consecutive one-hour sessions, the first starting at 9.30am, the second at 10.45.  Book for one or both. This event is great for families, especially children.

As COVID19 means that numbers are an issue, booking is essential. Please RSVP to Margaret Palmer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0409 012 082, stating which session you wish to attend, and providing the number of people coming and their contact details. Please note that the event is subject to rules surrounding gatherings, which may change without warning.


For others, please pay $10 per family at the door.

For further information on Geckoes Wildlife, please go to their website at:

Geckoes Wildlife

Come and see Martin Fingland at Geckoes Wildlife on SUNDAY 16th AUGUST for a wildlife display/show at the Hut. Subject to confirmation. Keep an eye out on THECA facebook page and website for further information soon.

Wildlife Sniffer Dog Demonstration

Latest from THECA

Wildlife Sniffer Dog Demonstration;  Detecting and monitoring wild animals is often a long, drawn-out activity.  Now, specially trained sniffer dogs are being used to find the occurrence of a range of animals, some native, some exotic. Come to the Hut at 2 pm on Wednesday 29th JULY to find out more about detecting wildlife using dogs and see how these animals work.

Birdwalkiing recommenced

THECA bird walks have recommenced. Come to our next walk at 7.30-9.30 on 25 July at the Mt Ommaney Boardwalk (enter from the Westlake Drive end, cnr Summit Place), UBD 197 G4. No need to book, but contact is Dawn on 3870 8076 or 0438708076. Ring for more information or if the weather looks uncertain

The Hilltop Bushcare and Butterfly Monitoring Group has recommenced

The Hilltop Bushcare and Butterfly Monitoring Group has recommenced. This group works on the Reservoir Trail at the top of Mt Coot-tha and meets on the first Sunday of every month. If you would like to participate, please call Justin on 0423 105 284.

The Mother-of-Millions weeding group has recommenced

The Mother-of-Millions weeding group has recommenced. We meet on the first Saturday of every month at the Hut Carpark, 47 Fleming Road, Chapel Hill. We weed the succulent Mother-of-Millions for about an hour then have a coffee (with appropriate social distancing). Start time can vary. If you’d like to participate, please call or text Margaret on 0409 012 082.

Queensland Conservation Council New Campaign

Queensland Conservation Council has announced that it is launching a new campaign to better protect and manage our rich and diverse landscapes. 

For more information go to Queensland Conservation

THECA’s 2020 AGM

THECA held its AGM by email this year, due to meeting constraints imposed by the coronavirus. Members received by post or email the President’s Report (attached), Treasurer’s report (attached), minutes of the 2019 AGM (attached), audited financial records and letter from the auditors (attached), plus a set of draft resolutions proposed and seconded by Committee members.

We received 39 votes, well over the required quorum of 15, and all votes supported all the resolutions. Thanks to all those who took the time to vote. Following the AGM, we have the same committee and office holders as before: Greg Siepen as President , Justin Watson as Vice-President, Ian Ferguson as Treasurer and Margaret Palmer as Secretary, with other committee members Charles Worringham, Christine Zupanc and Jocelyne Bridier.  The resolutions at the AGM also provided for the acceptance of the minutes of the 2019 AGM, the acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report, audited financial statements and auditor’s report, and the re-appointment of Arabon  Audit and Assurance as auditors for the financial records for 2020.

We are hoping that interested new people will step up this year to be on the committee, so if you have an interest in what we do, and would like to contribute to the committee, please email Margaret Palmer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Auditors letter













Global Citizen Science Month

April is Global Citizen Science Month and we will be encouraging more Queenslanders to get involved in citizen science.

Please take a look at the following link for more information

Update from THECA


We regret to advise that THECA has cancelled all its group acitivites until further notice

NO March morning tea

There will be no morning tea at the Hut on Tuesday 17 March, as the Hut is booked. See you on 15 April instead.

THECA's Mural

THECA unveils mural donated by the family of long-term THECA member Doreen Woolard.

 (Images coming shortly!)

Mural before unveiling
Mural with Petrea Woolard (left) and artist Jacqueline Hill (second from left)
Doreen Woolard at her 80th birthday party



Speeches and Dedications:

Spoken by:
Margaret de Wit, O.A.M.

Today we will unveil this beautiful mural in memory of a wonderful lady who not only loved her natural environment but actively cared for it for well over half a century and even into her ‘90’s.

Having been born in Townville in 1922, Doreen Woolard was one of those people who knew what it was to work hard and go without in the early post-war years and then in later years, having raised six children, to devote her life to caring for the bushland, in particular Moore Park at Indooroopilly. She was one of the founding members of the Moore Park Bushcare Group and remained actively involved as long as her physical condition allowed her to. Doreen not only worked physically hard to restore our native bushland, her accounts of the development of the western suburbs provide a vivid picture of how the landscape was changed when the western freeway was built in the early ‘70’s. It was a time when it was thought that straightening a creek would make it flow better and in the case of Witton Creek they even moved the creekbed for the freeway construction. Fortunately these days people know better but as they say – if you don’t know your history there is a likelihood of the mistakes being repeated.

In ‘Catchment Voices’ – an oral history of the Cubberla-Witton Catchments Doreen told her story about life in Indooroopilly from the 1950’s – about children riding to school on horseback, the farmland, the native species along Witton Creek such as the tiger quoll and rufous bettong which were last seen in the 1950’s. She used to refer to the ‘ribbon of red’ which was the weeping bottlebrush which in late spring became a ribbon of red along the creek. Unfortunately with the redirection of the creek the bottle brushes disappeared and in spite of the group planting many callistemon and melaleucas along Witton Creek Doreen never saw her ribbon of red restored.

Her other great love was the wattle and in one of her articles she told the story about Wattle Day which began in 1910 then after disappearing was reinstated by former Governor General Bill Hayden in 1992. He declared that 1 September each year was to be observed as National Wattle Day throughout Australia.

As well as her work with the bushcare group Doreen’s garden was a source of hoop pine and other native seedlings, now transplanted to back yards and bushcare sites across the western suburbs. Doreen was an active member of both the Indooroopilly and Kenmore Historical Societies and made very valuable contributions to both. In recognition of Doreen’s service to our community a tribute was given in Parliament by then Federal Member Jane Prentice.

I have been associated with THECA since its formation in the late ‘90’s and that is where I met Doreen more than 23 years ago. If there was an event on at The Hut you could be sure Doreen would be there. She had a close and active association with THECA and there could be no more suitable location to honour Doreen than here at The Hut in Mt Coot-tha Forest Park.
I would like to thank Petrea and her family for giving THECA this opportunity to recognise and immortalise the life and work of Doreen. I know that what is under this curtain is another spectacular work by local artist Jacqui Hill and without any further ado let us reveal this tribute to a very special lady - Doreen Woolard.

Growing up in the Foothills of Mount Cootha
Spoken by:
Petrea Woolard.

Hello, welcome everyone and thank -you for coming today, and braving the rain. The rain brings back many memories. When I arrived one of our dear friends, Peter, welcomed me and said well you brought the rain. I smiled as this was a saying my Mum used when one of us returned home and it was raining. Bringing the rain was akin to bringing a gift and with six children there was always a reasonable chance one of us would arrive home in the rain.

I wish to share with you a taster of what it was like growing up in the foothills of Mount Cootha. Mount Cootha was our ever present, undemanding friend. We opened our doors and she was there. When we were at school, she was there in the corner of our eyes (more exciting than any lessons) and she welcomes us when we returned home.

Like all friends she happily shared herself. Her colour changes throughout the day and the seasons (no expensive stylist required.) The piercing sharp whites, blues and yellows of summer and softer greys, blues and mauves of winter. In the wet you could smell the rain clouds as they approached, eventually enveloping and obscuring her summit, while the mist tendrils descended the gullies. The leaves and rocks glistening with water and the dry gullies and creeks flowing.

These same gullies and creek were our gateways to places beyond our front door. We walked – no off-road bikes or vehicles. There was always something that made you stop and look – a movement a flash of colour, a sound or a smell. Who would not be entranced by the informality of processional caterpillars, the dragons with their quick plonks back into the water, the flash of green and yellow of a yellow faced whip, the flittering of a red back wren, the silhouette of a kingfisher, the antics of the magpies, the songs of the butcher birds, the blue face honey- eaters rather chaotic nest building routines, the haunting curlew cries or the flowering of the water. There was something for everyone from dawn to dusk.

We all had our favourite. The treasures revealed were endless, but we did not just magically understand everything that was laid before us. There were some many amazing people who helped us develop: The Mackenzie’s from across Moore Park, Queensland Naturalists Club, The Girl Guides and Scout, the Curators of the Queensland Museum, Queensland Conservation Society, Faculty staff of the Queensland University , CSIRO staff, Historical Societies, Brisbane City Council staff. People from all these organisations became lifelong friends, gave their time, knowledge and skills willingly

Supporting our quests were our parents, our father, who was our driver, often changing his shifts to ensure we got to events. Our Mum was passionate about learning and took our quests and passions in her stride, even if it meant helping to catch insects for lizards, knitting walking collars and leashes for the lace monitors or looking after the many injured animals that made their way home down shirts fronts, in pockets or ports.

It is harder now to sustain that good friend Mount Cootha. There are many more shops, homes – the creep of urbanisation and the construction of roads all of which have changed the landscape of our childhood. These changes mean it is more important that community organisations thrive and work together. I hope that the mural will not only be a memorial to Mum but can attract members to THECA and community groups.

Notes from Jutta Godwin, Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network (CWCN), who knew Doreen Woolard through her bushwork
Written by
Jutta Godwin (CWCN)

Doreen was one of the founding members of the Moore Park bushcare group and remained actively involved as long as her physical condition allowed her to. She refers to the 'ribbon of red', a phrase she had borrowed from McKenzie family memories (see below) and had made her own. Just upstream from Moore Park, alongside the cricket oval, is a new housing development. The area it occupies was owned by the McKenzie family. Wally and Betty McKenzie remembered that Witton Creek was a series of waterholes with deep swimming pools, and that Tiger Quolls and Rufous Bettongs were last seen in the 1950s, a Dingo was sighted along the creek in 1981. Until 1982 natural vegetation remained along 509 metres of creek passing through the McKenzie property. "The dominant tree, right through to Russell Terrace, was the weeping bottlebrush which, in late spring, became a ribbon of red with the spectacular display of flowers. Honeyeaters, lorikeets and numerous other birds fed in these trees, and ringtail possums built bulky nests of twigs and vines high in their twisting branches. The rough trunks were hosts to elkhorn ferns. Banks with a south-easterly aspect were the habitat of six different kinds of ground orchids - two species of Greenhoods, Helmet Orchids, Autumn Bird Orchids, Pixie Caps and pure white Caladenias. Shading these were extensive communities of Brisbane wattle and Hovea, which were a glory of yellow and purple blossoms in late winter. Many fern varieties flourished near the water." (Source: Ms McKenzie in W. Davies, Wildlife of the Brisbane Area, 1983 Jacaranda Press).

When the bushcare group began working, the Western Freeway had been built. To allow for its construction in the 70s the creek bed had been moved to accommodate the new location of the cricket oval in the park as well as a changed entrance to the park. The interference led to the loss of a lot of native vegetation. The creek line in Moore Park was dominated by Camphor laurel, Chinese elm, Madeira vine and Glycine when rehabilitation started. Only two of the once numerous bottlebrushes were still alive and towering (one has died since). Although the bushcare group planted many Callistemon/Melaleuca viminalis along Witton Creek, by far not all of them liked the artificial creek banks. Doreen never saw her ribbon of red restored.


Powerful Owls workshop

Dr Robert Clemens from Birdlife Australia will be running a free workshop on Powerful Owls on Saturday 29 February. 

The workshop will begin at 12.30pm at the Hut (THECA) followed by a night walk around the Hut. To book, and for further details please go to


This summer's fires were hard on Australian forest owls. Come along to learn more about owls and how you can help the Powerful Owl.

About this Event

The BirdLife Powerful Owl project would like to invite you along from 12:30 to 15:30 for a presentation on Owl identification, biology, & ecology. The second half of the workshop also will allow you to sign up formally to the project as a citizen scientist, get permits, and be taught the tricks to help us monitor Powerful Owls in 2020.

Participants do not need to attend if you have already signed the paper work while attending a workshop in a previous year, but you are welcome if you want a refresher.

Following the workshop there will be a two hour break for dinner. We will not be providing dinner. From 17:30 to 19:30 (roughly), we will go for an evening walk in groups of 20 or less, each group will look to walk a kilometre or two while recording how many arboreal mammals they see, and any owls heard or seen. These field sessions are optional but they will provide an opportunity to meet others you may be able to go owl watching with later. Field sessions will only be available to those who have registered previously to the project (signed the paper work) or that attended the 12:30 workshop. Please select tickets to either or both parts of the workshop, but no need to print or bring those tickets.

The project aims to monitor Powerful Owls in southeast Queensland in order that we can identify how best to conserve them. There is, unfortunately a growing need to build this understanding, as forest owls had close to 30% of their habitat impacted by the recent bush-fires.

With over 400 people already signed up to the project, getting involved provides a good opportunity to meet like-minded people, and to help us understand how to protect this elusive but threatened species.

The BirdLife Powerful Owl Project is operating in partnership with Birds Queensland, and is proudly supported by the Queensland Government - Queensland Citizen Science Grants, and the Logan City Council. The project is also, Proudly Supported by the Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment Levy, The Wettenhall EnvironmentTrust, the Australian Environment Foundation and Ipswich City Council. Redland City Council is also proud to provide funding as part of the Community Grants Program to assist the Redlands Community. This project has previously been supported by Brisbane City Council.

Birdwalk 22 February

The monthly THECA birdwalk for February will be held on 22 February at 7.00am.

Location:: Cnr Chipley Street and Ashridge Road, Darra.

No need to book but contact is Dawn on 3878 8076 or 0438 708 076.

THECA Monthly morning tea's

THECA morning teas will be held in 2020 once a month on the third Tuesday of the month at the Hut at 10.30. 

All are welcome. Bring a friend and enjoy a chat on our beautiful deck.

February Monthly meeting

THECA Monthly  Meeting

February Monthly Meeting- Wednesday 26th February 2020, 7.30pm

Location: The Hut 47 Fleming Rd, Chapel Hill QLD 4069

The guest speaker will be Assoc. Prof. Grant Hamilton, QUT Science & Engineering Faculty.

Grant’s talk will be “Looking for koalas with drones”. Koalas are an iconic and economically important species for Australia. Threats to koalas have reduced numbers drastically over the past 20 years, and while these threats continue, koala numbers will continue to decline in Queensland and NSW. The project explores issues related to the better detection of koalas using advanced technologies such as drones. All welcome.

Gold coin donation at the door, and drinks and nibbles from 7pm



Birdwalk 25 January

The monthly THECA birdwalk for January will be held on 25 January at 7.00am.

Birdwalk 25 January at Moggill Forest Reserve, Mill Rd Anstead (UBD 175 N10).

No need to book but contact is Dawn on 3878 8076 or 0438 708 076.

Citizen Science Projects

THECA Citizen Science Projects

Citizen Science (CS) is about community citizens contributing to advancing science knowledge through being involved in scientific projects. Scientists are heavily involved in the design of projects with Volunteers collecting environmental data and sometimes collaborating in the design of those projects. The Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist has produced a video which highlights the many CS projects operating in Queensland, see

THECA’s current CS Projects are the evaluation of large-scale tree plantations at Wacol, and the carbon dioxide monitoring project. Details of these projects are below.

Evaluation of 2MT Plantings at Wacol - June 2020 update

A Citizen Science Grant of $16,000 was awarded to The Hut Environmental and Community Association (THECA) Inc. to monitor the condition and health of trees planted under the Brisbane City Council’s 2 Million Trees Project. The trees and shrubs at Wacol were planted in 2011/12.

Twenty volunteers were recruited, of which 18 have remained until December 2019.

Thirteen, 50 X 50 Metre Plots were marked out across the Wacol site. On each of the Plots, corrugated iron sheets, hardwood sleepers, roof tiles and tree wraps were placed for reptile refuges. Sixty hair traps and six motion cameras were located for a two-week period on three Plots. These traps and cameras will be placed in the plots again for another two week period later in 2020.

A Training Workshop was held on 26th October at Pooh Corner Environmental Centre. Volunteers were addressed on topics such as Plant Identification and Monitoring Methods; Bird Identification and Survey Methods; Reptile Identification and Survey Methods); and Mammal Survey Methods followed by a field session to assist volunteers to become familiar with the trees planted at the Wacol site with Workshop Speakers demonstrating identification and survey methods.

Three Citizen Scientist groups were formed. Groups were allocated three 50 X 50 Metre Plots each, scattered throughout the Wacol site. One Plot was used as the training plot. The three remaining Plots will be surveyed by the Project Coordinators.

Each group has started recording vegetation occurrence on their allocated plots. One survey is required for the entire project. Each group has started their monthly surveys of birds and reptiles which was interrupted by the COVID 19 virus. Surveys were suspended at the end of March and will commence again in July 2020, if state laws and restrictions allow.

To date, trees and shrubs have done quite well, although some deaths have occurred. The area has experienced drought for a long time since 20111/12 as evidenced by soil cracks and trees and shrubs looking very ‘sick’, possible dying. A short, heavy rainfall event in February produced a new flush of growth.

Several native fauna species have been observed within the Wacol site and on the Plots such as Beaded Dragon, Eastern Brown snake, Collared Sparrowhawk, brush turkey and three species of macropod. Hairs collected in the hair tarps will be sent for identification and animals will be identified by Justin from the motion camera cards.

Groups will continue to conduct bird and reptile monthly surveys over winter and Spring and complete the vegetation monitoring.

Full flora and fauna results will be tabled after September, 2020.

G Siepen & D. Cole (Project Coordinators)

THECA Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Project

In 2019, THECA approved a pilot project led by THECA member Charles Worringham to undertake some monitoring of carbon dioxide concentrations in our local area. Unlike the measurements of well-mixed clean air at NOAA’s Mauna Loa station in Hawaii, or Australia’s Cape Grim station on the north-west tip of Tasmania, ground-level measurements of localised atmospheric concentrations can give an indication of emissions from an urban area and potentially point to specific sources (such as traffic and land disturbance) and sinks (including bushland and other vegetation).


Climate change, driven by the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, is having increasingly clear effects on our environment globally, nationally and right here in Brisbane.

The changes are not only seen in higher temperatures and exacerbation of drought and bush-fire conditions, but in ecosystem changes such as disruptions to migration patterns, food and host-plant availability and other phenological cycles.

As an organisation focussed on the environment and community education, THECA can contribute to the understanding of carbon dioxide patterns in an urban area and its surrounds. We understand that this is one of the first citizen science projects to undertake this kind of monitoring.

When the Hut was built in World War II, atmospheric carbon dioxide stood at about 310 parts per million (ppm), and when THECA was founded in 1994, that value had risen to 360ppm. Today, atmospheric CO2 stands at about 415 ppm, higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years, and thought to be rising faster than at any time in the last 65 million years. More than 85% of cumulative anthropogenic CO2 emissions have been released in the Hut’s short lifetime, and more than half since THECA was founded1.

In Brisbane, fuel combustion in vehicles is likely to be the major anthropogenic source of CO2. Brisbane’s cars produced the equivalent of about 4 million tons CO2 in 2016, estimated from State government data.2 To put this in perspective, there are 34 countries whose overall emissions are less than those from Brisbane’s cars (not counting trucks, buses etc.). Researchers at King’s College London have routinely measured elevated CO2 levels adjacent to major roads.

Equipment and measurements

The project uses a relatively low-cost non-dispersive infra-red CO2 sensor (Senseair K33), controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer. Each sensor and controller can be mounted in a protective housing, and data streamed via a USB 4G modem. We have written our own software to control the sensors, and thank Alan Barlow for assistance sorting out some communication protocols for the sensor t an early stage in the development of the project.

These sensors have been shown to have acceptable resolution to detect changes of a few parts per million, and if properly calibrated have been shown to track CO2 concentrations quite faithfully compared to very expensive and specialised devices, such as ring down cavity spectrometers used by professional research groups3.

We are very fortunate to have the assistance of Dr. Alistair Grinham, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland. Alistair is providing both advice and help with calibration, using sensitive gas chromatography equipment to measure air samples taken in conjunction with some of the sensor measurements.

Co2Measurements         Co2Measurements2

Figure 1 shows one of the sensor kits disassembled and Figure 2 shows the installed equipment. The first three devices are operating in the north-west of the City Centre, Chapel Hill as a suburban site, and Jimboomba to sample the prevailing southerly air before it reaches the urban area).

Figure 3 shows a 24 hour record of some early data. The CO2 level is generally higher at night because of the absence of daytime photosynthesis as well changes in the atmospheric boundary layer over the region at night-time. Ona any given day, winds can create mass movements of air from rural areas with relatively low concentrations, or across the city, carrying higher levels.

The advantage of building a network of sensors as opposed to a single site (which usually involves very expensive research-grade equipment and professional staff) is that interesting spatial patterns of change may emerge. Wind directions, traffic patterns and other variables can help give a context to the observed concentrations.

We accelerated the data collection phase of the project to capitalise on the low traffic conditions of the Coronavirus lockdown. Once enough data is in, we may be able to assess how much Brisbane’s lockdown reduced CO2 levels. Although we have only a very small quantity of pre-lockdown data, we may have sufficient during the lockdown to make comparisons with the next few months as economic activity returns. As of late May, reports of decreased urban CO2 have been reported for eight European cities, some showing very substantial drops.

More information

If you would like more information about this project, or if you or your community group might be interested in hosting a monitor, please contact us via THECA’s contact page.

1 Data from OWID based on the Global Carbon Project; Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre (CDIAC); Gapminder and UN population estimates (


3 Martin, C. et al. (2017). Evaluation and environmental correction of ambient CO2 measurements from a low-cost NDIR sensor. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 10, 2383–2395.


Birdwalk 23 November Seventeen Mile Rocks Road ParkBirdwalk 23 November Seventeen Mile Rocks Road Park

Birdwalk 23 November Seventeen Mile Rocks Road ParkBirdwalk 23 November Seventeen Mile Rocks Road Park

In the absence of our expert Dawn Muir, we did two separate walks. One, within the Park itself, did not result in many sightings. The Park was filled with runners, bike rallies and other assorted fitness exercises which we thought made it less attractive to bird life. We saw over 25 Maned (Wood) Ducks. Other sightings included small numbers of Magpies, Noisy Miners, a Swift, Welcome Swallows, male and female Figbirds, Brush Turkeys (and a mound), Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Pied and Grey Butcherbirds, a White Ibis, Rainbow Lorikeets, Crows, a Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike, and a Kookaburra.

In the absence of our expert Dawn Muir, we did two separate walks. One, within the Park itself, did not result in many sightings. The Park was filled with runners, bike rallies and other assorted fitness exercises which we thought made it less attractive to bird life. We saw over 25 Maned (Wood) Ducks. Other sightings included small numbers of Magpies, Noisy Miners, a Swift, Welcome Swallows, male and female Figbirds, Brush Turkeys (and a mound), Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Pied and Grey Butcherbirds, a White Ibis, Rainbow Lorikeets, Crows, a Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike, and a Kookaburra.The second walk, in the area around the Park, took in the lagoon first with a walk back along the river. This was much more successful.  Altogether we saw 44 bird species and brown snake swimming  in the lagoon.  Bird species included Blue-faced Honeyeater, Maned (Wood) Duck, Welcome Swallow, Little Friar Bird, Brown Honeyeater, Grey Butcher Bird, Fig Bird, Purple Swamp Hen, Magpie Lark, Friar Bird, Black Swan, Hard Head, Willie Wagtail, Scrub Turkey, Moorhen, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet,  White-browed Scrub Wren, Noisy Miner, White Ibis, Sacred Kingfisher, Great Egret, Silver Eye, Pacific Black Duck, Little Egret, Little Black Cormorant, Magpie, Torresian Crow, Indian Miner, Crested Pigeon, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Darter, Rock Dove, Oriole, Lewins Honeyeater, Currawong, Australasian Grebe, Masked Lapwing, Striated Pardalote(h) Pied Butcher Bird, Little Pied Cormorant, Rainbow Bee-eater(h), and a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.

Dawn has kindly agreed to lead bird walks next year and we are very grateful to her for this and for all the walks this year. We have greatly benefited from her deep expertise in birdlife and her knowledge of the sites we investigate on the walks.




Unfortunately, Tim Low will not be available to talk about his new book at our members meeting on 27 November. Instead, Andrew Taylor will talk on ‘Reptiles active this summer’. Andrew works at CSIRO Pullenvale and has acquired a huge knowledge of reptiles. He is called upon regularly to give talks at schools and for wildlife training workshops on reptile identification and first-aid treatment procedures.  Andrew lives in Brookfield and is very familiar with the reptiles that are likely to be encountered in the western suburbs.’



November Event - Field Day

THECA November Event - Field day 


Does chemical free weeding work? 

Find out more at our demonstration site on Saturday 23 November - read more for further details



BirdList - 27.10.2019


THECA  Sherwood Arboretum  27.10.19  Very dry – lowest level of water seen

Noisy Miner (with nest with chick), Rainbow Lorikeet, Australian White Ibis, Dusky Moorhen, Little Pied Cormorant, Hardhead, Pacific Black Duck, Tree Martin, Eurasian Coot, Royal Spoonbill (two birds), Figbird, Brown Honeyeater, Spotted Dove, Torresian Crow, Common Myna (with nesting material), Australian Reed Warbler, Pied Currawong, Crested Pigeon, Olive-backed Oriole, Magpie-lark, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, Welcome Swallow, Scarlet Honeyeater, Masked Lapwing, Australian Magpie, White-throated Needletail, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Galah, Brush Turkey, Little Black Cormorant, White-throated Honeyeater (h), Willie Wagtail, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Maned Duck, Little Corella.

Monthly meeting 23 October 2019


The Hut Environmental & Community Association Inc
PO Box 804, Kenmore QLD 4069
47 Fleming Road
Chapel Hill QLD 4069
Phone (07) 3878 5088
email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Image result for bird use of habitat planting


Research on Lizard Island, presented by Erin Watson.


"Research on Lizard Island", presented by Erin Watson.  Erin has a BSc (Honours) at University of Queensland, majoring in Marine Biology.  

Lizard Island is approximately 200km northeast of Cairns.  The only settlement on the island is an exclusive resort and a research station.  Erin has visited the island on several occasions over the last year and while she will share some of the research she has been involved in, Erin will also talk about the interesting history of Lizard Island, what it’s like to live and work on the island, and discuss some of the environmental issues e.g. bleaching/invasive weeds, that face the marine ecosystem. 

This presentation will be held at The Hut, 47 Fleming Road, Chapel Hill, on Wednesday 25 September, 7pm for 7.30pm start.   

All are welcome. Gold Coin donation on entry.



Possible Changes to Fleming Rd - Area Between Kirkdale Rd & Birchley St

Possible Changes to Fleming Rd - Area Between Kirkdale Rd & Birchley St

Greg Siepen and Ian Ferguson met with Cr Kate Richards and Council employees on 29 August, to seek further information on the mooted changes to the road and footpath network around the entrance to the carpark at The Hut.

Cr Kate advised that consideration was being given to a number of issues in that area and Council was not yet even in the design phase of any changes. Issues included a possible need for safe pedestrian crossings near the bus stops, the visibility problem at the crest of Fleming Road, the lack of footpaths on the northern side of that part of Fleming Rd, the possibility of a retaining wall being required on that same side, the development application for a child care centre and home units at 70 Fleming Rd (currently refused by Council but under appeal), the safety of the road intersections at Fleming & Kirkdale and Fleming & Birchley, and also the footpath around to the bus stop almost opposite Candlebark Crescent.

Greg & Ian mentioned THECA’s concerns re future access into and out of the carpark and crossing Fleming Rd and the painted traffic island near the entrance and the frequency at which the carpark was at capacity. Cr Kate and the Council were aware of all these issues and Cr Kate assured Greg & Ian that THECA would be kept informed as it progresses, but it could still be a long way off.


THECA follows Queensland Health Covid-19 directives for all events and activities.
To check the current status of Covid-19 directives from Queensland Health,  visit: