In October 2022, nine women spent two days clearing overgrown vegetation along heavily congested parts of Wanggoolba Creek next to the boardwalk at Central Station’s Day Use Area. Vegetation built-up in Wanggoolba Creek areas was to be reduced to restore hydrology/flow and improve the creek’s aesthetics.
The site is an important and sacred place for Butchulla women making it culturally and spiritually significant. The cultural monitoring and maintenance project for the creek is called Daga-minjugin, meaning birthing creek, as a respectful acknowledgement to Butchulla female apical ancestors who gave birth at Wanggoolba Creek.
Butchulla women and QPWS rangers had previously identified areas heavily congested with fresh green overgrowth vegetation and dead debris, such as dead piccabeen palm fronds and old tree trunks that had fallen into the path of the creek after heavy rain.
At the upper eastern end, the creek’s water level had fallen low enough that a few of the giant king ferns Angiopteris evecta had fallen over. The rare king ferns are considered one of the creek’s prime attractions.
The overgrown green vegetation was strategically removed to have minimum impact on the ecological systems and minimise impacts on the surrounding ecosystems retaining habitat for wildlife such as birds, fish, crustaceans and eels. The team carefully selected the areas and types of vegetation and how much or little to remove.
Some vegetation required cutting back with machetes and other heavy-duty cutting tools, and when needed, a small chainsaw was used. While in other areas, vegetation was cleared by hand. The team covered approximately 600 metres of the creek bed and adjacent areas. Some plastic waste was also retrieved from the creek.
Although the debris was not entirely cleared, the BAC team has identified areas for future monitoring and maintenance. Special thanks to QPWS Butchulla Rangers David Broome and Wayne Minniecon for their assistance and training the women participants in using a power carrier that QPWS provided.
This project was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the positive attitude to Country and collaborative work between the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) and QPWS.
Article submitted by Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Partnerships