Regreening Three Mile Scrub

In 2017 SOWN embarked on one of its most ambitious projects – a long-term plan to regreen Three Mile Scrub. The vision of Quandong Park group leader Chris Galbraith, the project involves all six bushcare sites in the Three Mile Scrub area and creates new bushcare sites to link all the sites together.

Three Mile Scrub was once an area of lush lowland subtropical rainforest which bordered Enoggera Creek from Banks Street Reserve to Kelvin Grove. When James Backhouse visited Three-Mile Scrub on 2 April 1836, he said, “Accompanied by the surgeon, two prisoners, and a native Black, we visited a forest called the Three-mile Scrub on a low, alluvial soil, through which there is a small stream. One of these Ficus macrophylla was forty feet in circumference, at the greatest height that I could reach its roots formed wall-like abutments, extending from the tree, over an area, thirty feet across”.

Clearing patches of cane grass for mosaic planting

In 1857 a group of field naturalists said, “… we were enraptured by the south American luxuriousness of the vegetation. Immense gum trees 200 to 300 feet high, surrounded by gigantic creepers… Interlacing alike all the giants of the forest – the gum, the cedar, the ironbark and the box… The ground is covered with the most elegant creepers…while the intermediate space is filled with the larger kinds of shrubs and bushes, such as our dilettante at home would give almost anything to possess… A most beautiful, peculiar and spirit-stirring effect”.

Yet only 30 years later, most of the land had been cleared by selectors whose land grants required them to remove the vegetation. Any remnant vegetation was overrun with lantana (Lantana camara). Farming soon gave way to suburbia. Enoggera Creek became a dumping ground and a drain.

The 1974 flood made the situation worse with Brisbane City Council bulldozing the creek to remove debris. This only made the weeds worse. The formation of the Enoggera Creek Association led to a program of revegetation starting in the area in 1987. With the establishment of the Habitat Brisbane program in 1991 and the formation of SOWN in 1994, the movement to revegetate our creeks has continued to grow.

Local volunteers and community organisations work to remove tonnes of weeds and plant thousands of plants in Three Mile Scrub every year. This community commitment makes a project like Re-greening Three Mile Scrub possible. A key element in the project is the existence of Three Mile Scrub plant lists compiled by the field naturalists in the 1860s and 1880s. SOWN Nursery is now working to propagate the appropriate plant species so SOWN volunteers can literally replant Three Mile Scrub.