The district: a short story
The Pullenvale-Pinjarra Hills-Bellbowrie-Anstead-Moggill District covers an area of 55 sq km in the south-west region of Brisbane. It is bounded by the D’Aguilar and Mount Elphinstone Ranges with elevations of 200-600 metres above sea level in the west and north and by the Brisbane River in the south. an easterly corridor, Moggill Road, is the main arterial access to the city via the western Brisbane suburbs of Kenmore and Indooroopilly.
- Warm and temperate
- Maximum rainfall in summer
- Rainfall average 1000-1200 mm
- Rainfall variability inhibits the formation of true sub-tropical rainforests
The original vegetation that once covered the district was referred to as ‘Araucarian Vine Scrub’ i.e. forests dominated by emergent Hoop Pine (Araucaria Cunningham), nothphyl (medium sized leaves) and microphyl (small leaved) trees which supported vines. Within this general classification three sub-groups could be identified depending on localised growing conditions including soil type, topography and local climatic conditions. No extensive areas of this original vegetation remain in the district. However, a six hectare example of the districts’ former vegetation survives at ‘Smiths Rainforest’ in the Brookfield Valley.
Rivers, Creeks and Watercourses
- The Brisbane River forms 60% of the District Boundary
- It is by far the largest watercourse in the catchment
- The Brisbane River is now tidal nearly up to the Mount Crosby dam, but prior to the extensive river dredging was fresh water to well below where Pullen Pullen creek flows into the river
- Frequent flooding prevents full utilisation of land along the river
- The main creek, Pullen Pullen, and its tributaries (including Pullen Creek) drain 60% (33 sq km) of the catchment
- Farm Creek drains 9% (5 sq km) of the catchment
- The headwaters of Pullen Pullen Creek and PUllen Creek are in the D’Aguilar and Mount Elphinstone Ranges. The upper reaches of the creek are ephemeral and support dry schlerophyll eucalyptus forest. The middle and lower reaches are perennial (except in severe drought conditions) and in these sections the creeks support riparian vine scrub
- Small ephemeral creeks drain Bellbowrie, Moggill and Priors Pocket
Aborigines who spoke the Turbal language populated the district in significant numbers. At least five bul (bora ring in European terms) were present in the district signifying a relatively high aboriginal popualtion. Aboriginal people were aware of the seasonal flowering and fruiting of the plants throughout the district, moving in and out of the area depending on the relative abundance of fruit and animals.
The aboriginal population declined as European numbers increased in south-east Queensland. Decline occurred mainly through introduced disease, dispossession of tribla lands and the movement of aboriginal people away from their tribal lands. By the 1860’s only 200 of the estinated 500 aborigines living in the Moreton bay region in 1824 remained.
Coal provided the impetus for opening the district to European settlement. Steam packets and river barges provided the only means of long distance travel for earlier settlers. In 1848 coal mining at Moggill commenced. Further prospecting continued in the district for the next 100 years. Slate was commercially exploited and a basalt quarry on the Brisbane River near the junction of Mt Crosby and Hawkesbury Roads was worked for many years. Brisbane City Council has recently gazetted the old quarry as a public bushland reserve.
Commerial timber getting commenced in the dsitrict in the 1860’s. the main logging timbers produced were Hoop Pine, Red Cedar, Rosewood, and eucalyptus hardwoods. Bullock teams and wagons transported the timbers to Moggill Creek at Rafting Grounds where it was floated via the brisbane River to timber mills downstream in Brisbane. Hardwoods, being too dense to float, were transported to Brisbane via bullock teams. After World War One, lorries performed the task. By 1876, all the Red Cedar and most of the Hoop Pine was depleted. Timber getting continued regularly during the 20th Century up to World War Two. intermittent logging of Moggill State Forest continues.
Growing conservation concerns resulted in the prohibition of logging of Bunya Pine, Queensland Nut, Turpentine and Balck Bean on Crown land. In 1906 legislation was introduced for the ‘Reservation Management and Protection of State Forests and national Parks”. Australia was one the first countries to list protection of natural vegetation in legislation. once timber supplies were depleted and land cleared, farming expanded. Only three farming activities, pineapples, poultry and fodder cropping have been enduring and these are now disappearing as urbanisation of the district continues.
Up until about the 1960’s there were only about 80 famiies living in the district and by the 1970’s this had increased to 600 families. oday over 10,000 people reside in the district. Although there are growing suburban areas at Bellbowrie and Moggill, and diminishing lot sizes in residential areas such as Woodcrest Estate at Pullenvale, a large part of the district is classified as semi-rural under the Brisbane Cith Council Planning Act with lot sizes generally restriced to a minimum of one hectare.
Since the cessation of farming natural regeneration has been progressing and many residents settling in the area have revegetated their private properties thereby contributing to an overall incerase in tree cover since logging and larger scale farming ceased. However, much of this revegetation was with species other than local varieties and quite a few of these such as Chinese Elms, Camphor Laurels Lantana etc have now been declared as weeds.
PPCG recommends that revegetation uses native species, especially local ones, and that exotics, and in particular those now classified as weeds. be removed. increasing population density and consequent urbanisation invariably bring a diminishing of fauna and flora species in any natural environement and Pullen Pullen Creek catchment is no exception. Public awareness of the value of maintaining a diverse and healtyh habitat is essential in reversing this decline and preserving our natural and cultural heritage.