The magic of the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

The magic of the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. Les Hall.

Brisbane: Friends of Mary Cairncross, 2020. Quarto, colour illustrations.

Tim Flannery describes The Magic of Mary Cairncross as science by stealth, a way to educate through beautiful images, fascinating information and engaging, easy-to-read stories. With a focus on the unique ecosystem that is the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Dr Les Hall brought together many of the Sunshine Coast region’s finest artists, scientists, naturalists and storytellers in a celebration of art and nature.

This extraordinary book has no photographs or technical jargon. It takes the reader on a journey of discovery through Jinibara country, Maleny’s famous Gondwanan rainforest with over 100 stunning paintings, drawings and artworks, including the delicate botanical watercolours of Louise Saunders, traditional Jinibara and Gubbi-Gubbi artwork and the stunning, hyper-real birds of Sally Elmer.

Instigated by Mabel and Bessie (Elizabeth) who had a deep love for “the scrub” as they called it, the Maleny members of the Thynne family signed over the rainforest portion of their farms under a deed of trust with the Council of the Shire of Landsborough in 1941.

The agreement was conditional on the land being held as a reserve and sanctuary for the preservation, conservation and exhibition of the Natural Flora and Fauna of the said land, and that it should be known as The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. By doing so they were honouring their mother Mary Williamina Thynne, nee Cairncross. This Deed of Trust has continued to be honoured by successive Councils – now the Sunshine Coast Council. In consultation with Council and Elizabeth Thynne, it was agreed that the new Rotary Club of Maleny would establish and maintain the Reserve as the Club’s first major project in 1960. Group members and their families contributed many thousands of hours of dedicated labor to transform this special “scrub”, into the iconic reserve we see today. Thus starting the longest running community involvement of any Rotary Club in Australia.

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