Members newsletter March–April 2024

Members newsletter March–April 2024

In this edition

President’s report

Project updates

Double Island Point work week

Community engagement

Friday Environment Forum

Noosa National Park Visitor Information Centre

Activity group updates

Bird Observers’ Group

Botany Group

Feathertail gliders – you’ve got mail!

President’s report

Noosa’s new councillors

The dust has settled on the recent local government elections. Noosa has 2 new councillors joining 4 re-elected councillors from last term (one of whom is our new mayor). Mayor Frank Wilkie will lead and direct this group of community representatives in making decisions that aim to benefit the entire Noosa region.

As I noted in a recent newsletter, we need strong, principled, independent councillors to deal effectively with the state government on local matters. Optimistically, with this new mix of councillors we may look forward to representatives working together, advocating for positive change, addressing community concerns, and promoting wellbeing, environment and lifestyle. Let’s hope that residents and the environment are at the forefront of their decision-making processes.

You may recall that, last year, consultation on the long-awaited Noosa River Plan was hastily and controversially kicked forward to be dealt with by this new council in 2024. There has also been much talk of a destination management plan but to date we have seen very little action, progress or results.

These issues will be on the agenda of your new Noosa Council, and we encourage you to let the councillors know that time is of the essence with both these pressing issues. They can’t be kicked down the road again.

All councillor candidates made very similar promises during their campaigns—with little detail from many of them! It’s time to keep them to task, ask questions of the current councillors, continue to be proactive in ensuring that your community, the Noosa we know and love, will not disappear behind development and overtourism.

Email addresses for all councillors are published at Mayor and Councillors – Noosa Shire Council.

Update on a commercial Cooloola Great Walk

On a state government issue, the local member for Noosa, Sandy Bolton MP, has been assured that the outcome of the Cooloola Great Walk will be in line with community expectations, and that government will work with the traditional owners, the Kabi Kabi people, and the local community. However, to date nothing has been offered.

In the lead up to the coming state election in October, Noosa Parks Association is calling on both Queensland’s Labor Party and Liberal National Party to withdraw support for a commercial Cooloola Great Walk. It is time for both sides of politics to face up to the fact that a Cooloola Great Walk with overnight accommodation owned and run by a private developer has failed to get past square one.

Over the past 5 years the selected proponent has been unable to produce a detailed proposal for a commercial Cooloola Great Walk that is financially feasible—one that does not require both direct and indirect financial subsidy from the state government, and hence taxpayers.

It is time for both of Queensland’s major parties to rule out both direct and indirect subsidies for this project. It is time that both sides of politics listened to the clear message from the Noosa/Cooloola community and said ‘No’ to a Cooloola Great Walk with overnight accommodation that is privately owned and run.

We look towards a big year ahead. Noosa is on a precipice—we need to ensure that it is navigated in the right direction.

Darlene Gower

NPA President

Double Island Point work week

Applications are now open

Applications are now open for a caretaking/work week at Double Island Point for the period 29 June 2024 to 28 June 2025.

Members are invited to apply for a one-week stay (7 nights, Saturday–Saturday) in a heritage-listed lighthouse-keeper’s cottage during the above-mentioned period, for up to 4 adults and 3 children.

The tariff is $650 for 3 or 4 adults, or $500 should there be only 2 adults staying for the 7 nights.

Applications close on 8 May 2024.

Before you apply – important information

As an NPA member accepting a week as part of the Double Island Point Project, you agree to stay for the week (Saturday–Saturday) and are obligated to act as caretakers during your stay and carry out vegetation rehabilitation and/or cottage maintenance/cleaning work as assigned by NPA. You will also take responsibility for any guests you may have staying with you.

Please do not apply if you cannot stay for the 7-night period or cannot undertake physical work and vegetation tasks.

You will be assisting NPA in our commitment to the state government to:

  • maintain a continuous on-site caretaking presence
  • restore native vegetation to the landscape surrounding the lighthouse and cottage precincts
  • maintain the lighthouse-keepers’ cottages, ancillary buildings, lawns surrounding the cottages, walking tracks, and the access road from Teewah Beach up to the lighthouse.

This is a very popular project among our members, and each year there are not enough weeks for the number of members applying. Should you be unsuccessful this year, you will be given priority next year.

Deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable, so, if you are offered a week, before accepting please ensure that you are willing and able to fulfil the work commitment, and that you have the week free to participate.

How to apply

To apply, please complete the application form attached to this email and email it to by the due date. If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Darlene Gower, Double Island Point Project Officer

Friday Environment Forum 

Friday Forum continues to attract large audiences with Tony Wellington’s ‘Take on Noosa nature’ attracting about 90 people on a bleak and rainy Friday. Tony was able to convey the importance of the wildlife corridors that NPA has enabled through its collaboration with Noosa Council and the Queensland Government.

Protecting Noosa’s nature reserves from illegal encroachments was the topic presented by Jude Tulloch and Ben Derrick. It attracted 80 people, including 39 non-members, and stimulated a great deal of discussion. This forum highlighted the benefits of working together with council to achieve a common aim. We remain optimistic that the issues raised will be tackled in the coming months.

Karen Jones’s interactive presentation shared the science of awe and insights on how we experience awe. She also demonstrated that engaging awe can contribute to positive conservation outcomes, particularly with young people.

Upcoming forums

12 April: Galapagos of the South? You decide – Gillian Mathews

26 April: Fire ant threat – Reece Pianta, Invasive Species Council

10 May: Health and climate change: what’s the link? – Sharon Campbell

24 May: Marine life at Old Woman Island – Gary Cobb, Nudibranch Central

Through the efforts of a hard-working team of volunteers, Friday Environment Forum maintains its goal of educating locals about what’s happening with nature in our backyards.

Visit Friday Environment Forum for more information or to join the mailing list to receive the FEF Newsletter issued before each forum. Just tap the SUBSCRIBE button.

Liz Diggles, Friday Environment Forum

People on a sunset river cruise

Noosa Council erected this sign in response to damage at Peregian Beach

Noosa National Park – Visitor Information Centre

Join us at the Noosa National Park Visitor Information Centre as a volunteer!

For many years, the NPA has managed the centre, aiming to assist and educate visitors about the park’s attractions, while offering refreshments and souvenirs. All proceeds support the Land Fund, aiding future land acquisitions for additional national parks.

We offer a choice of 3 shifts:

  • morning from 8:30am to 12:30pm
  • afternoon from 12:30pm to 4:30pm
  • midday from 10am to 2pm.

Roles include leaders and helpers. Parking is available for volunteers who drive, and the centre operates 364 days a year, 7 days a week.

If you’re interested, please contact Dave Vickery at Your contribution will support a meaningful cause.

Dave Vickery

Noosa National Park Visitor Information Centre

Bird Observers’ Group

The first group outing for the year, to one of the Noosa Bird Trial sites – Shepperson’s Park at Kin Kin – was attended by 12 people on 17 March. We recorded 50 bird species and 13 butterfly species.

The domed nest of the Large-billed Scrubwren was hard to see hanging with debris. Most birds were seen in the park before we climbed to the lookout.

The Tawny Coster butterfly was one of the species observed. I wrote about the Tawny Coster in August 2023 after Charmaine photographed one at Finland Road. For more details about the species, refer to ‘A colourful new Australian reaches Talaroo: the Tawny Coster butterfly, Acraea terpsicore’, a paper by Franklin et al. (2017).

Gillian Matthew will be our next Friday Forum guest. She has been busy preparing her presentation with the intriguing title, ‘Galapagos of the south? You decide’

The threatened Glossy Black-Cockatoo is known to exist in areas with suitable habitat throughout the Noosa region. Most sightings occur at feeding and drinking sites, which include creeks, dams and puddles. The Glossy Black Conservancy has chosen Noosa to launch a new pilot project to observe and record data, so that this threatened species can be better protected. Ecologist Mike Barth is leading the project. Having worked for years with the Glossy Black-Cockatoo Recovery Program on Kangaroo Island, his extensive knowledge of the species will be invaluable to this important Noosa project. Thanks to local citizen scientists who have agreed to observe and record data – good luck!

Valda McLean

Convenor, Noosa Parks Association Bird Observers’ Group

Watching a Brush Cuckoo at Shepperson’s Park
Credit: Margaret King

Botany Group

Joan started the year off with a most interesting talk on carnivorous plants. Many of us think of carnivores only as flesh-eating mammals but, strangely enough, plants can also be carnivorous.

Some plants survive by trapping insects and deriving their nutrients from them. Australia is home to several hundred carnivorous plants – more than anywhere else in the world. Joan described many of those plants that are native to our area, and we shall look at them with greater interest on our botany walks.

The walk in February took place in the Tewantin National Park, on the northern side of Cooroy–Noosa Road. The track took us through wet sclerophyll forest, and there were plenty of plants for us to identify. The cooler, drizzly weather was another bonus, and it was a pleasant change from the hot, humid weather we had been experiencing.

‘Deception on the high seas’ was the intriguing title of the talk given by Zana Dare in March. The story was about a young French woman called Jeanne Baret (1740–1807) who was very interested in botany. Her employer, Dr Commerson, was invited by the navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville to join his ship as a botanist on a voyage to circumnavigate the Earth. Women were prohibited on French navy ships, so the only way that Jeanne could join Dr Commerson as an assistant was to disguise herself as a man. Three years later, in 1769, after many adventures, she became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe.

Bougainville Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea was named in honour of the ship’s captain. During the voyage, Commerson and Baret collected a flowering vine in Rio de Janeiro and named it Bougainvillea. From that, I have learnt that Bougainvillea plants come from South America and not from Bougainville Island!

The March walk took place in Marcus Dunes. The usual time for us to visit this area is in Spring, and this time it was interesting to view the vegetation in a different season. Not many flowers were in bloom, but it’s always a challenge to identify plants without flowers. We all enjoyed the walk.

Sonia MacDonald

Botany Group

Feathertail gliders – you’ve got mail!

We have been stunned to find a pair of feathertail gliders (Acrobates pygmaeus) in our mailbox, 3 times now. No bigger than a matchbox, they are the smallest glider in the world and often referred to as the pygmy glider.

A magnificent little animal, they have skin folds for gliding and a unique tail, fashioned like a feather with fur.

They live in the tree canopy and only use the mailbox when there has been exceptional overnight rain.

Because of their preference for high tree canopy, their cryptic behaviour and their tiny size, they are often mistaken for moths or birds.

They are not uncommon, extending from far north Queensland down the east coast and across to South Australia. Clearly, our farm has suitable habitat along the creeks and road verge. But this is another reminder of why we need old-growth forest. I now look at tree canopies in a different light.

Bryan Walsh

“No bigger than a matchbox, feathertail gliders are the smallest glider in the world. This pair have brought a new leaf into the mailbox for their mattress. We notice they often sleep on their back or side, and do not show a lot of fear.”

Credit: Bryan Walsh

Curated and edited by: Mary O’Callaghan, Mdash Editorial

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