North Stradbroke home to ‘treasure trove’ of ancient wetlands


From left John tibby holding the core, lydia mckenzie, jonathon marshall and cameron barr coring at Duck Lagoon
Researchers taking core samples from Duck Lagoon, North Stradbroke Island. From left: Dr John Tibby, Lydia McKenzie, Jonathan Marshall and Cameron Barr. Photo: Supplied

Scientists from the University of Adelaide and the Queensland government have uncovered a ‘treasure trove’ of ancient wetlands on North Stradbroke Island.

The research, led by Dr John Tibby, found that North Stradbroke’s wetlands are unique to Australia.

“The landscape of the island, because these wetlands are there and also because there is very little sand blowing into them, we think that essentially it’s been permanently wet for at least the last 20,000 years, but also for most of the last 100,000 if not 200,000 years,” Dr Tibby said.

“That’s unusual at an Australian scale because there is no other place in Australia, that we know of…where there are so many wetlands that are still in existence, that existed during the last ice age.”

“But I think that from a conservation point of view, it’s really interesting that there’s this ancient wetland sitting on this sand island, basically only an hour from a major capital city.”

Brown Lake North Stradbroke Island Photo Jan Aldenhoven
Brown Lake, North Stradbroke Island is one of the locations for the research. Photo: Jan Aldenhoven

Quandamooka Aborginal Land and Sea Management Agency Manager Darren Burns said the research has strengthened the Quandamooka peoples’ connection to their land.

“It opens the door for limitless possibilities for how long the Quandamooka people have been connected to this area,” Mr Burns said.

“We’ve got an archaeological sight on the island which is verified at 20,000 years old.

“So this could further push back our connection to the island.”

Mr Burns also said the ground-breaking research coming out of this study could provide a long term solution to indefinitely stop mining on the island.

Researchers taking core samples from Duck Lagoon North Stradbroke Island. From left John Tibby anc Cameron Barr University of Adelaide Phto supplied
Researchers taking core samples from Duck Lagoon, North Stradbroke Island. From left: Dr John Tibby and Cameron Barr, University of Adelaide. Photo: Supplied

“Some of our wetlands and lakes on this island suffered dramatically during the years of mining,” Mr Burns said.

“We believe that mining has finished on the island, it’s been legislated out, but this evidence further verifies how valuable the wetlands on the islands are and how reckless it was to advocate for mining to continue.

“We, as aboriginals, we know how special our land is because of our cultural values…however, it’s been the greedy minority who couldn’t care less and would rather just mine the island for short term gain at the expense of world class wetlands.”

Leave a Reply