38 years ago, a young Australian doctor arrived in Launceston from the mainland, and stumbled upon a slice of paradise. He bought the land for $8000 and, soon after, an environmental activist was born.
Today, Bob Brown — now a Senator — will hand over the Tasmania property to Bush Heritage Australia, the conservation group he created in 1991 while retreating to his small cottage there.
The gift of his land, called ‘Oura Oura’ located in the majestic Liffey Valley, marks the 20th anniversary of Bush Heritage Australia, founded after Brown (by then, a Tasmanian MP) saved two parcels of Tasmanian forest destined for woodchipping by using his Goldman Environmental Prize as a deposit.
Historic gatherings at the Oura Oura property also spawned the campaign to save the Franklin River, the organization called the Tasmanian Wilderness Society and the idea of forming a national green political party, which Brown now leads.
“To have our founder gift us this amazing property 20 years on, one that is steeped in Australia’s environmental movement is nothing short of inspiring,’ said Doug Humann, Bush Heritage CEO. “This highlights the faith that Bob placed in the Australian people when he founded Bush Heritage, which has become one of Australia’s largest conservation groups.”
Unveiled today as the ‘Oura Oura Reserve,’ located about 47kms south-west of Launceston, the public can now enjoy its history and scenic beauty.
The 35-acre property (14 hectare) borders the Central Plateau World Heritage Area and is one of several properties in the Liffey Valley (including three others owned by Bush Heritage) that help create a network of reserves. ‘Oura Oura’ provides suitable habitat for the endangered Tasmanian devil, the spotted-tail quoll (a marsupials vulnerable in Tasmania), the wedge-tailed eagle (also endangered), and the vulnerable grey goshawk.
The public is also welcome to search for yellow-tail black cockatoos, native to the region, while hiking the walking track that leads up to Drys Bluff.
(READ about the celebratory last supper at Brown’s home in the Brisbane Times)