Official Launch of the Second Edition of the ‘Birds of the Fernberg Estate’ Publication
Ladies and gentlemen, Kaye and I welcome you all most warmly to Government House today. Today marks our first substantial reception since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed. Life here is slowly getting back to normal.
Earlier this month, 13 June, marked 93 years since Sir John Goodwin was sworn in as Queensland’s 14th Governor.
British-born Sir John was a most distinguished surgeon, administrator and soldier… and, it appears, he was also a ‘twitcher’.
Sir John’s interest in nature conservation translated into inaugural patronage in 1930 of the National Parks Association of Queensland. Vice-regal patronage continues, and I am delighted the Association’s President and Operations Manager could be with us today.
Sir John and Lady Goodwin also took a strong interest in preserving the flora and fauna of the Fernberg estate, having its ten hectares of remnant Australian bushland declared a Sanctuary for Animals and Birds in the 1920s.
I have taken us back to the 1920s, though that time span to the present is but a speck when we acknowledge Indigenous custodianship over tens of thousands of years, which I now acknowledge, with respect to the Turrbul and Jagera people.
More than nine decades later, the bushland at Fernberg remains an important breeding and nesting site for a growing number of native bird species and mammals – the latest residents, a family of squirrel gliders.
The number of avian species which live, breed and feed at Fernberg now stands at 63 – up ten since I launched the first edition of the ‘Birds of the Fernberg Estate’ field guide in 2016.
Only nine of the new identifications made it into this second edition – the tenth, the Buff-banded Rail, was sighted for the first time only this month, after we received the printed copies – perhaps a third edition, Official Secretary?
I thank everyone involved with the production of this highly worthwhile and informative publication, especially Eric Anderson for his technical assistance and photography, and Judith Anderson for her attentive research.
I acknowledge the Government House staff, led by head horticulturist, Richard Symmonds, for their ongoing, meticulous care of the Fernberg bushland. The results are the expanding biodiversity recorded in this publication.
Finally, I thank you all for taking the time to be here. The Government House bushland is a most precious community resource, which as current custodians, Kaye and I are proud to share with you all.
In that spirit of enhancing community awareness, it is my great honour to now officially launch the second edition of the ‘Birds of the Fernberg Estate’ publication. Thank you.