Wildlife Land Trust / Sanctuaries / QLD / Kennedy Springs – Meunga Creek Farm

Rusty Smith and Justine Douglas are the owners of Kennedy Springs – Meunga Creek Farm, a property located in Carruchan, approximately 20km west of Cardwell, Queensland and 6km from their other property, Kennedy Springs. The property is utilised as a cattle farm and wildlife sanctuary, and is involved in the Terrain NRM Mahogany Glider Recovery Plan. Rusty and Justine intend to continue with their grazing enterprise in a holistic and conservation-friendly manner, reducing grazing pressure, using wildlife-friendly fencing and using exclusion fences to protect natural features of the property. They are also presently conducting ecological surveys in conjunction with conservation groups in order to gain a better understanding of the wildlife on their property. Rusty and Justine are currently returning sugar cane paddocks to grazing pasture and revegetating areas on the property to provide natural shade for the cattle and enhance habitat for the mahogany glider population and other native wildlife species in the area.

Meunga Creek Farm is a predominantly grazing property covering 62 hectares in the Wet Tropics coastal lowlands. It is situated near the foothills of the Macalister Range, adjacent to Cardwell State Forest and close to Girringun National Park. The property is part of a wildlife corridor connecting critical mahogany glider habitat and features extensive natural vegetation and several perennial watercourses. Vegetation on the property consists mainly of open eucalypt communities dominated by forest red gums (E. teriticornis), with ironbark (E. paniculata), stringybark (E. obliqua), Moreton Bay ash (Corymbia tessellaris) and mahogany interspersed with improved pasture and native grass species. The property also features eucalypt woodlands with small open woodland trees and shrubs and spring fed communities. Riparian communities also occur along the watercourse and feature vine forest, watergums, melaleuca species and Queensland maples (Flindersia brayleyana).

Wildlife found on the property includes sugar (Petaurus breviceps) and mahogany (Petaurus gracilis) gliders, platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), freshwater turtles and freshwater fish such as jungle perch (Kuhlia rupestris), black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri), mangrove jack (Lutjanus argentimaculatus) and barramundi (Lates calcarifer). Spotted-tailed quolls (Dasyurus maculatus) have been heard on the property and tree kangaroos (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) have been seen near the property.

Meunga Creek Farm also houses a wide variety of migratory and resident bird species including southern cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius), paradise kingfishers (Tanysiptera spp.), blue-winged (Dacelo leachii) and laughing (Dacelo novaeguineae) kookaburras, red tailed black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii), black-necked storks (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus), buff-banded rails (Gallirallus philippensis), quails, large-tailed nightjars (Caprimulgus macrurus), rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus), barn owls (Tyto alba), rainbow bee-eaters (Merops ornatus), dollar birds (Eurystomus orientalis) and various raptors including wedge-tail eagles (Aquila audax), white-bellied sea-eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and the pacific baza (Aviceda subcristata).