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New Nature Reserve

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Tasmania has a brand-new nature reserve, all thanks to a gift from an everyday Australian family who wanted to make a difference. The new reserve near Tasmania’s east coast, comprising 1500 hectares of “exquisite, high-value habitat that protects 11 threatened plant and animal species”, was announced today by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) to mark Threatened […]

Tasmania has a brand-new nature reserve, all thanks to a gift from an everyday Australian family who wanted to make a difference.

The new reserve near Tasmania’s east coast, comprising 1500 hectares of “exquisite, high-value habitat that protects 11 threatened plant and animal species”, was announced today by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) to mark Threatened Species Day. The Day is the anniversary of the death of the last-known Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus).

TLC said they were able to create the reserve thanks to a bequest of $1.55m from David and Jean McGregor. According to TLCT the McGregors were not wealthy people, but they were nature-lovers who were very active in their local church and had a strong commitment to making the world a better place.

David McGregor’s son Bruce said: “As long-time supporters of TLC we knew of and had seen their highly professional approach to nature conservation. We had great confidence in the TLC to do the job.”

“Both Mum and Dad loved camping in the bush and wanted to retire to a place where they could see the mountains and the sea,” said Bruce McGregor, whose parents left the funds to protect this property. “For decades Dad spent a lot of his spare time growing threatened plant species and planting them in his garden, around their farm and along waterways. He loved the small native plants, native birds and restoring gurgling creeks. This property not only helps TLC’s vision but also reflects Jean and David’s values.”

TLC described the property as follows: “This is an exceptionally beautiful reserve. The Prosser and Back Rivers cut their way through a valley of grassy woodland, scattered with critically endangered black gum (Eucalyptus ovata). Old-growth blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) is a haven for the critically endangered swift parrots (Lathamus discolor) that nest and feed here. Deep gullies and gorges are lined with Oyster Bay pine (Callitris rhomboidea). The property hosts at least three wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax fleayi) nests.”

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As outlined in Sharnie Read’s (nee Everett) Prosser Catchment Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan 2014, the property is also a site of significant cultural heritage. This area was the home of the Payintaymirimina band of the Oyster Bay tribe. A road used by the band ran along the banks of liyamangina minanya (the Prosser River) and was known as makuminya. After colonisation, parts of that road were repurposed, laid with blue stone bricks by convicts and later known as the ‘old convict road’.

The name for the reserve is now being determined in consultation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and other community members.

Dr Alex Kutt, TLC’s new Head of Science, said he had the fortune of staying on the reserve during his first months in Tasmania. “What an introduction – waking up every day to a backdrop of beautiful blue gum and stringybark forests and woodlands,” he said.

“Wedge-tailed eagles drifted nonchalantly overhead during the rather crispy days, and the murderous screams of the Tasmanian masked owl echoed eerily in the cold still nights.

What a magnificent place – I can’t wait to start the TLC’s survey and monitoring of the fantastic biodiversity protected on this exceptional new property.”

The scale and quality of the reserve is ‘incredible’ in the view of Matt Taylor, TLC Senior Conservation Ecologist.

“Working as an ecologist, finding a property that has this many amazing features is a dream. But then to top it all off there is this hidden valley along the Back River, which takes you back in time to pre-European days. So much of our valley ecosystems have been lost but here, remarkably, there is this beautiful intact river flat with big old trees, perfect to stretch your swag under.”

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The TLC aims to protect land of the highest conservation value, using a science-based tool that considers species, habitat, connectivity in the landscape and threats to ecological values to direct conservation efforts. They said that as an organisation they felt privileged to work alongside committed conservationists such as Bruce and Ann McGregor.

To find out more about the reserve and the species it protects, and to download photos, video and maps of the reserve, visit the TLC page. To find out more about the TLC’s bequest program, see here.

Images courtesy TLC.

Source: Tasmanian Times https://tasmaniantimes.com/2020/09/new-nature-reserve/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-nature-reserve

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