Land purchase to save the Northern Quoll

Project Snapshot

Action: Purchase and protection of Oakey Scrub (Lot on plan BK157115) 

Area: 69 hectares (690,000 sqm) 

Location: 11 km southwest of Cooktown, Cape York, Queensland

Vegetation type: Monsoon Rainforest (21 hectares of semi-deciduous notophyll vine forest) and Savannah (48 hectares of mixed woodland-grassland ecosystem)

Threatened Species: Northern Quoll, Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo, Large-eared Horseshoe Bat, Semons Leaf-nosed Bat.

There are also numerous other species including estuarine crocodiles, lizards, frogs and marsupials.

The purchase and management of this property have supported the conservation of Northern Quolls. They are under threat from habitat destruction and poisoning from the introduced cane toad, which the Quolls eat without realising the danger. Oakey Scrub and the surrounding area has the highest known population of Northern Quolls on Cape York Peninsula however this important property is privately owned and not managed for conservation. Without our intervention Quolls at Oakey Scrub would have remain at risk from fires and overgrazing. 

Securing the property for conservation has prevented it from being used for cattle grazing like so many other properties on Cape York.

Oakey Scrub adjoins the adjoining Caloola Nature Refuge (18,100 hectares). 

A curious Northern Quoll is captured with a motion-triggered camera on Oakey Scrub. 

Oakey Creek Scrub is recovering from past overgrazing and too frequent fire. The vegetation is showing positive signs of recovery, however, much more needs to be done to secure the important wildlife habitat on this property.  

To achieve this we have partnered with South Endeavour Trust which will own and manage Oakey Scrub. South Endeavour Trust was established in 2007 as an independent, not-for-profit, charitable trust with the sole purpose of contributing to nature conservation in Australia. South Endeavour currently owns and manages nineteen conservation reserves including Caloola Nature Refuge (18,100 hectares) which adjoins Oakey Scrub. Upon acquisition, Oakey Scrub will be added to the Caloola Nature Refuge. 

Oakey Scrub is located 10km southwest of Cooktown at the intersection of the Wet Tropics and Cape York bioregions in Far North Queensland and the Einasleigh Uplands. It has two adjoining ecosystems, Monsoon Rainforest (21 hectares of semi-deciduous notophyll vine forest) and Savannah (48 hectares of mixed woodland-grassland ecosystem). These two ecosystems provide habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna including the endangered Northern Quoll and other Threatened species including the Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo, Large-eared Horseshoe Bat, Semons Leaf-nosed Bat.

White-lipped tree frog found at Oakey Scrub.

Northern Spotted Velvet Gecko (Oedura coggeri)

The property also has one kilometre of Oakey Creek frontage. As you can see from this aerial footage of a helicopter flyover.

Oakey Scrub ecosystems and biodiversity. 

Oakey Scrub is a of 69 hectares, 21 hectares of which is Monsoon Rainforest (semi-deciduous notophyll vine forest) the remaining are being savannah (mixed woodland-grassland ecosystem). In the canopy dominant evergreen species are Black Bean (Castanospermum australe), Candlenut (Aleurites moluccanus, Milky Pine (Alstonia scholaris), Brown Tulip Oak (Argyrodendron polyandrum), Black Walnut (Beilschmiedia obtusifolia), Native Mango (Buchanania arborescens) and Buff Walnut (Endiandra longipedicellata). Figwood (Ficus albipila var. albipila) are an emergent tree species. Common deciduous species are Leichhardt Tree (Nauclea orientalis), Tar Tree (Semecarpus australiensis), Sovereignwood (Terminalia sericocarpa) and White Cheesewood (Wrightia laevis). 

A sparse to very dense sub-canopy often includes Red Kamala (Mallotus philippensis), Kamala (M. polyadenos, Queensland Nutmeg (Myristica globosa subsp. muelleri), Rose Tamarind (Arytera divaricata), Cabbage Wood (Pisonia umbellifera), Cape Tamarind (Toechima daemelianum) and Ebony (Diospyros maritima)The sparse to mid-dense shrub layer can include Weeping Cleistanthus (Cleistanthus apodus), Glycosmis trifoliata, False Gardenia (Atractocarpus sessilis), Bandicoot Berry (Leea novoguineensis), Lunasia amara var. amara, Brown Ebony (Diospyros laurina) and Northern Laurel (Cryptocarya hypospodia). The ground layer is very sparse and composed mainly of seedlings. This mainly occurs in catchments on loamy alluvia, riverine wetland, or fringing riverine wetland. 

Current condition

Fortunately, Lot 1 Oakey Creek Scrub is in good to moderate condition. It is recovering from past overgrazing and too frequent fire, with the vegetation showing positive signs. Overgrazing and fire have not been issues over the past three years but there is still much recovery to happen on this property.

Proposed management

The Oakey Scrub Nature Refuge has been declared by the Queensland Governmnat as a protected area. It is located adjacent to the Caloola Nature Refuge

Particular focuses of management will include:

  • The exclusion of fire from the rainforest and the rainforest margin to provide continuous improvement in the condition of the rainforest and for an expansion of the rainforest area.
  • The exclusion and/or active management of feral animals.
  • Maintenance of strict weed quarantine to maintain its largely weed-free state. 

We've provided answers to frequently asked questions here.

For more images of Oakey Scrub, please visit our Facebook album here.

Showing 4 reactions

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  • Kelvin Davies
    commented 2021-09-20 06:32:30 +1000
    We update the total raised every few2 days at the top of this page. We are getting closer now however with four days to go we still need to keep raising funds. See
  • Lucy Kelly
    commented 2021-09-20 02:42:39 +1000
    How close is the target, now?
  • Lucy Kelly
    commented 2021-09-15 19:42:36 +1000
    Save Oakey Scrub!
  • Kelvin Davies
    published this page in Completed Projects 2021-05-25 08:55:23 +1000