Environment Matters Autumn/Winter 2023

Drone images of an area ready to be planted

A lifetime’s work to change a landscape Davida Shera lives on a 36 hectare property at Purga, which she bought with husband Dr Michael Shera in 1979. The property is part of council’s Landholder Conservation Partnerships Program, and Land for Wildlife.

ORIGINAL STATE The land was scarred with coal piles, a legacy of the expansion of coal mining in the Ipswich region from the mid- 1870s onward. A 1986 aerial image of the property showed a landscape cleared for agriculture, with the only trees along Purga Creek, the billabong and a remnant patch on the western end.

DECADES OF WORK Over the years, Davida has energetically planted thousands of trees on the property. The property has also naturally regenerated, particularly after cattle were removed about 20 years ago. “We gradually educated ourselves as to what species could be successful on the property, and clearly the hardiest trees have been (Grey Box) Eucalyptus moluccana and (Blue Gum) Eucalyptus tereticornis , both tolerating heavy clay soil, drought, and frost during establishment,” she said. Endangered Swamp Tea-tree Melaleuca irbyana have also done well.

FUTURE GOALS One of Davida’s favourite features of the property is “the thrill of recognising the sound of koalas at night-time coming from the billabong, seeing scratch marks on tree trunks, and scat beneath, and spotting koalas when you are walking around the property”. Now she is embarking on a large-scale revegetation project, with the help of a team, with about 5,000 koala food and habitat trees to be planted. This will convert grass paddocks to native forest, and link remnant areas,

riparian zones and the historic native plantings on the property.

Koala in tree Purga

September 2022 planting

Blue gum on the property


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