Re: Lamington National Park

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Subject: Re: Lamington National Park
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 08:44:43 +0800

On 12/8/01 1:09 PM, in describing where to see Scrub Turkey mounds, Sarah Knight wrote:

Lamington NP is highly recommended - the Binna Burra side is more diverse in flora & birds -  from rainforest (cat birds etc.), wet sclerophyll (scrub wrens etc.), montane heath (honeyeaters), & boxbrush, casaurina & treefern open areas.  The O'Reilly's side has excellent rainforest birds but little else for the twitcher.

In case anyone reading that posting has booked to stay at O'Reilly's, let me assure them that they won't be disappointed.  

I have known Lamington for more than 60 years - and from '63 to '88 in the capacity of a national parks administrator.  It is surely Queensland's best known and most loved National Park.   'Bing' Lucas (Mr P.H.C. Lucas),  was Director of National Parks in New Zealand, then Director-General of Survey and Lands, and after retirement from the NZ public service was for a number of years Chairman of the IUCN Commission on National Parks and equivalent areas.  (He was still actively involved in IUCN work when tragically he suffered a massive heart attack and died while walking in a New Zealand N P late last year.)   Bing was very highly regarded internationally as an expert in nature conservation and NP management.  Peru and Nepal are two nations that I know of that invited him to visit and advise them on setting up a national park system and service.  In Queensland, we arranged for him to stay at O'Reilly's, walk through to Binna Burra, and stay there.   On returning home he wrote to say that no-where in the world had he encountered another tourist resort that so well complemented national park values as did O'Reilly's and Binna Burra.

I think it is fair to say that most people interested in nature and wildlife, on visiting Lamington for the first time are mightily impressed and if they stayed at either of those resorts become staunch supporters of the one they stayed at, forever more.

Sarah is right in pointing out that Binna Burra is where you must go for heathland, but in other respects O'Reilly's is just as good.  It too offers wet sclerophyll and drier box/eucalypt forest.  Both sectors offer Antarctic Beech (Nothofagus) forest, but the Bithongabel Beech forests out from O'Reilly's are possibly the best development of this type of forest in Lamington.  I don't think there are any honeyeater species in the heathland that don't also occur in the O'Reilly's sector.  There used to be Eastern Bristlebirds in the heath and probably still are.  They don't, as far as I know, occur elsewhere in Lamington, but  Rufous Scrubbirds can certainly be heard out Bithongabel way.  (Seeing a scrubbird anywhere is another matter!  Please don't disturb them with playback of tape-recorded song.  You may be committing an offence under the Nature Conservation Regulations.)  

Albert's Lyrebirds of course, are readily heard and occasionally seen at both places, but the only male Albert that has ever tolerated a person watching his (winter) breeding season display, is at the O'Reilly's end.    I've known him since '84 and he's now at least 25 years old, so each winter we wonder if he'll still be with us next winter.  He tolerates a human presence only because Glen Threlfo, O'Reilly's naturalist, spent years persuading "George", as he calls him, that it is safe to do so.  Glen did this so that he could film George (a commercial video has resulted) and it is likely to be a long time before any other male Albert will come to accept a human presence.

I don't think Binna Burra can match O'Reilly's for guests being able to sit at dinner and watch through a window, possums and gliders dining only a couple of metres from them.   And at O'Reilly's, a Paradise Riflebird used to display in some regrowth rainforest at a height of only about 15 metres.  On one occasion, a chance encounter on the track afforded me the pleasure of showing Paul Ehrlich the display.  He had been to an ecological conference in Western Australia and knew that Lamington was the place to visit to indulge his private interest in bird-watching.   (I don't know if the riflebird still displays there.)   It used to be a delightful experience to walk five minutes or so from the resort to watch the local group of Scrub Turkeys 'going to bed' for the night.  That too, I have not recently checked out.

There are advantages in each resort.  Stay at either and you are assured of a very rewarding time.

Syd Curtis
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