SOWN is a community organisation working to restore the habitats of creeks and waterways in the catchments of Enoggera, Ithaca and Fish Creeks in Brisbane’s west.


To see more coming events, please click on the EVENTS CALENDAR or use the navigation bar above. You can also add your working bees and events there.

Community pitches in to restart bushcare

On 9 April 2021 more than 80 community members pitched in to plant hundreds of native species at Yoorala Street West where the bushcare group has recently been restarted.

Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN) roving bushcarer Janet Mangan helped restart the group and organise the community planting event with new joint group leaders Ed Bennett and Renee Hovey.

With the support of volunteers from other Bushcare Groups and Jodi Rees with Brisbane City Council’s Habitat Brisbane crew, the site was prepared. To enhance community engagement and learning, Habitat Brisbane also organised a display of Geckoes Wildlife native animals.

“The idea started quite small but with the support of Habitat Brisbane, it became a holiday event with lots of kids involved,” said Renee.

Ed and Renee took over management of the site in November 2020, following the 2016 retirement of Athol Brown who established the site 20 years earlier.

Renee said the site had excellent fundamentals with mature trees and good canopy.

“It’s a fairly large site with different areas needing attention.

“The first issue was to control the weedy vines such as Glycine and Balloon Vine,” she said.

The next priority was to weed and plant along the path which runs through the site.

With Enoggera Dam immediately upstream, the site is subject to flooding so stabilising the bank is also a priority.

Now the next challenge is to recruit more regular volunteers to keep Yoorala Street West in top shape for native wildlife and the community.

Join Yoorala Street West bushcare group for working bees every fortnight on Friday mornings from 8:30am at Bill Fursman Crossing.

Check for the date of the next working bee on the SOWN events calendar or email Renee Hovey and Ed Bennett at

You can find Yoorala Street West Bushcare Group on Facebook.

Community members joined in the April planting at Yoorala Street West. Photo: Renee Hovey
SOWN and community members assemble for the planting at Yoorala Street West, April 2021. Photo: Renee Hovey
Balloon Vine Cardiospermum grandiflorum was a problem at Yoorala Street West. Photo: Robert Whyte

Banks Street butterfly bounty

Recent surveys at Banks Street Reserve have found 33 species of butterfly in just a few hours of hunting.

After a survey on 11 March 2021, organiser of Brisbane’s Big Butterfly Count, Jutta Godwin, said butterfly expert Cliff Meyer was totally taken by the area.

“Cliff said several times that we have barely tapped into the butterfly potential there,” she said.

Situated on Enoggera Creek between Ashgrove and Newmarket, Banks Street Reserve was once part of a lush subtropical rainforest called Three Mile Scrub.

When the area was cleared for housing development Banks Street Reserve was retained as open space.

While some areas of bushland were retained, there were extensive grassed areas and a market garden.

In the last few decades, Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN), Brisbane City Council, and six local bushcare groups have been working to revegetate the creek.

President John Abbott said in 2017 SOWN launched a long-term project to  Re-green  the Three Mile Scrub.

“If the Butterfly Count is anything to go by, our efforts to revegetate Banks Street Reserve are beginning to pay off,” he said.

Jutta Godwin said the visit to Banks Street Reserve was very exciting.

“Being able to observe a rainforest butterfly, the Jezebel Nymph Mynes geoffroyi, at eye height for a long time was incredibly special, and this butterfly also added to our overall Brisbane-wide tally.

“Considering the cloud cover on the day, the results were remarkable,” she said.

John Abbott said SOWN hopes to hold another butterfly count at Banks Street Reserve in autumn.

Banks Street Butterfly Count 20200311 SOWN President John Abbott and Joan Abbott examine an Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras. PHOTO: Jutta Godwin

Butterfly Count Jezebel Nymph Mynes geoffroyi ovipositing on Native Mulberry Pipturus argenteus. PHOTO: John Abbott

Butterfly Count Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras caught for identification. PHOTO: John Abbott

'This Week by the Creek' eNewsletter - April 2021

The April 2021 eNewsletter from our partners at the BCC Creek Catchments Program is attached for your information.

It contains information and updates about creek activities and events across Brisbane, training opportunities and grants that are available.

Leo Wins Lord Mayor’s Award

Leo Lee has won the 2021 Lord Mayor’s Individual Green Heart Award.

Leo is a former president of SOWN, a current committee member, nursery volunteer and fish expert and geneticist.

The award was for his outstanding voluntary contribution to identifying and rehabilitating native fish populations.

SOWN President John Abbott said Leo’s award was richly deserved.

“Leo has a passion for our native fish and this has led him to becoming a champion for preserving our waterways,” John said.

The award citation makes particular mention of Leo’s recent work on Cedar Creek which is a tributary of Kedron Brook.

“Leo also oversees the Enoggera Catchment Creek Health Monitoring Program, supported by Brisbane City Council and Seqwater, to learn more about the health and function of our waterways and inform ongoing management practices.”

John said Leo backed up his passion for native fish with detailed scientific knowledge about his subject.
“SOWN is very lucky to have a scientist of Leo’s calibre leading our Enoggera Creek monitoring program,” he said.

The monitoring program collects data at several sites throughout the Enoggera Creek catchment and needs volunteers to assist in the data collection.

If you are interested to find out what is living in our creeks and how abundant our native and exotic species are contact

Training is provided in safety, equipment and use, fish and other species identification and documentation.

Leo Lee receives the Individual Green Hearth Award from Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, 22 January 2021

2020: A strong year despite disruption

At the annual general meeting on 5 December, President John Abbott reported on SOWN activities in 2020.

He said 2020 had been a disrupted year.

“Because of COVID19 we could not do many of our usual activities – but this has made us adapt, work in different ways and do new things,” John said.

Those new things included online ordering from the SOWN nursery, ZOOM meetings for the management committee, upgrading the SOWN web site and strengthening relationships with other groups such as Healthy Land and Water, Brisbane Catchments Network, Balaangala, Men of the Trees and the Queensland Conservation Council.

Consultation on the SOWN Enoggera Catchment Plan Proposals continued with implications for future SOWN governance. Changes are likely to include better community engagement, volunteer management and administrative support.

SOWN Nursery had to spread propagation activites over more days due to COVID restrictions and cope with the temporary closure of the propagation nursery at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre. With management of the Centre reverting to Queensland Corrective Services the future of the plant propagation program remains in doubt.

John thanked all the dedicated volunteers working on administration and governance, the nursery, bushland regeneration, creek health monitoring, communications and website management.


SOWN member Gail Chuter collecting pre-ordered plants from volunteer Dick Harding at the SOWN Nursery gate PHOTO: Anne Jones

To download and view the SOWN 25th Anniversary history book click here

Please have patience, the ebook is large and colourful and may take up 30-60 seconds to download.


These planting guides will help you choose the best local native plants for your regeneration site or garden. You can also visit the “Plants To Plant” section using the site navigation. >


SOWN has volunteer catchment groups working on creek restoration throughout the Enoggera catchment including along Enoggera Creek, Fish Creek and Ithaca Creek. Look here to find the group nearest to you.>