Land Purchase in the Atherton Tablelands



Action: Purchase of Cheelonga Cloud Forest and protection through addition to the Misty Mountain Nature Refuge

Area: 18 hectares

Location: Millaa Millaa, Queensland

Vegetation type: Regional Ecosystem 7.8.4 high altitude cloud forest on basalt

Threatened Species: Cassowary, Lumhotz’s Tree-kangaroo, Lemuroid Ringtail Possum, Green Ringtail Possum, Northern Pygmy Possum, Golden Bowerbird

Fundraising for this project is now complete. Thank you to everyone who made a donation to achieve this outcome. 

The purchase of Cheelonga has protected 18 hectares of high-altitude Cloud Forest and provides an essential refuge for endemic mammals that have nowhere else to go. 

Climate Change poses a threat to a range of endemic cooler climate Wet Tropics species. Without functional connections within fragmented habitat areas, it is feared that the long-term survival of a range of species will be at substantial risk. 

The Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroo and the Lemuroid and Green Ringtail Possums are restricted to the cooler parts of the Atherton Tablelands and other higher areas of the Wet Tropics. Securing this important habitat is essential to support their long-term survival.

Lemuroid Ringtail Possum, Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo, Green Ringtail Possum.

One impact of Climate Change is the increasing number of days with high temperatures. On the 15th of January 2019, a record-breaking heatwave in Far North Queensland pushed temperatures to 42 degrees Celcius. This one event is estimated to have killed more than 23,000 spectacled flying foxes, or almost one-third of the species in Australia. Climate Change impacts on bats are highly visible as they often roost near urban areas and heat-stressed animals come to or fall to the ground, however, these extreme events also impact mammals adapted to live in the normally stable environment of the could forests. 

Tree ferns thrive in the cloud forest. 

Donations to this project are being used to achieve the purchase of land, a boundary adjustment (of Lot 303 NR4636), new fencing, and management of the process to include the land in the Misty Mountain Nature Refuge. As these outcomes are achieved we will make further announcements. 

The Cheelonga property will be protected through its inclusion in the Misty Mountain Nature Refuge. A declaration of a Nature Refuge requires gazettal through an act of the Queensland Parliament and provides the highest level of protection for land outside of a national park. 

Lumholtz Tree-kangaroo on the Cheelonga Cloud Forest property.

A key feature of the block is that it includes a significant section of the creek that starts at a spring on Misty Mountain and flows through to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The property is strategically located between the Malaan National Park and Herberton Range National Park. In addition, the block directly abuts the World Heritage Area. Besides its strategic corridor value also helps buffer the World Heritage Area.

The key species at Cheelonga Cloud Forest are the Southern Cassowary, Lumhotz’s Tree-kangaroo, Lemuroid Ringtail Possum, Green Ringtail Possum, Northern Pygmy Possum, and Golden Bowerbird.

Acquisition of the property will complete the Misty Mountain corridor.

Our project partners are South Endeavour Trust, a successful registered nonprofit organisation that acquires and manages land for conservation. We successfully partnered with them in 2021 for the acquisition of Oakey Scrub near Cooktown. They own and manage the Misty Mountain Nature Refuge which has been created through the acquisition of two other properties in the past decade.  

Purchasing Cheelonga will expand the Misty Mountain Nature Refuge.

If you have any questions about the purchase and protection of Cheelonga Cloud Forest contact Kelvin Davies at [email protected] or call during business hours at 0437 423 119.