My first visit to Fraser Island was in 1969/70. It’s a large Island entirely constructed on moving and eroding sand carried by the sea currents and blown inland by the prevailing south east wind. Frontal fore-dunes rise to a height of over 10+ meters. Free-Range horses have been blamed for changes but they are at the scapegoats at the mercy of nature’s forces winds and cyclonic weather and bureaucratic managers. Collectively, those sand grains form a rich diverse collection or a magnificent tapestry mix of plants from shrubs to valuable forest trees that grow on contouring sand dunes all with a unique aesthetic design/ shape.
Understanding the plant phenomenon like the smallest floating pads of algae supports little colonies of sundew plants, blue couch grass and beach spinifex that supported the free-range horses, (as early botanist of the Brisbane Botanical Gardens Sir Walter Hill recommended in 1878) just as the seeds of the blue couch grass supported large flocks of red-browed finches. Uniquely, in a strange ironic way all are locked into an intriguing symbiotic plant where one master plant in particular has a fungus attached to its roots called ‘Mycorrhiza Fungi’ that feeds the life blood of plant establishment for frontal dune plants and its attendant and dependent animals particularly free-range horses that are Mother Nature’s healers. This amazing matrix became a nursery for life on nothing more than what seems to be pure sand. Fresh-water thousands of liters of it was the other essential additive lying just under the surface. It is like a giant heart pumping life to the endless thirsty ecosystem (Williams 1982). In many places streams overflow out across the beach in a rhythmic pulsating action towards the sea.
In this environment of pure moving sand together they uniformly thrive in harmony (without interference from man). One plant because of its hidden deep rooted structure, helps to stitch the sand dune spinifex and other plant life together as a ecosystem, the animals because all are dependent on the plant life. In exchange free-range horses were limited, they favoured spinifex assisting it to grow. Any plants needing underground sustenance were provided with access to this life supporting bacteria fungi that grows on its roots of this one amazing deep rooted spinifex plant (where mature female plant seeds hold the sole secret ability to leave the mother plant and roll along the beach in strong winds like cartwheels.
Starting new colonies, stabilizing more frontal dunes area and in this way spreading re-establishing new territory and multiply as the lead initial host for a range of vines like the amazing strong plant ‘Goats Foot Convolvulus’ (a medicinal plant of the Aborigines) that is one of those tough pioneer master builders and fore-dune constructors on this the largest Island of Sand in the world, where the sand is constantly moving. All this before QPWS management interfered with the balance of the ecosystem as well as interfering with Free-Roaming Horses. Fraser Island then was a very special place. Meet ‘Ellie’ follow her hoof-prints. Read about the saga over inexperienced horse management – it’s in the book – ‘Equine Epitaph – Under The Rainbow – Fraser Island’s Last Brumby‘.
Books that followed my passion for Fraser Island are:-
- ‘Written in Sand’ – a History of Fraser Island 1982. $55+ ($9 Postage and handling)
- ‘Princess K’Gari’s Fraser Island – Fraser Island’s definite History’. 2002. $29.50 + ($9 Postage and handling)
- Wangoolba Prince Amongst Dingoes. 2006. $34.99 + ($9 Postage and handling)
- EQUINE EPITAPH – UNDER THE RAINBOW – Fraser Island’s Last Brumby. 2018. $34.99 + ($9 Postage and handling)
OH! BROTHER! – AGAINST ALL ODDS! 2012. $34.99 + ($9 Postage and handling)
SPECIAL TWO BOOK DEAL – POST FREE!
- EQUINE EPITPATH – UNDER THE RAINBOW – FRASER ISLAND’S LAST BRUMBY.
- PRINCESS K’GARI’S FRASER ISLAND – FRASER ISLAND’S DEFINITIVE HISTORY.
NORMALLY VALUED AT
YOURS – POST FREE – FOR $55.00.
DID YOU KNOW THE U.S. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE (NPS) HAVE BEEN MANAGING FREE-RANGE HORSES ON ASSATEAGUE ISLAND SINCE 1965? HERE’S TWO BOOKS ABOUT THEM!
A1. STORMY MISTY’S FOAL BY MARGUERITE HENRY….$22.50 + P&H $5.00
B2. MISTY’S TWILIGHT BY MARGUERITE HENRY……………$22.50 + P&H $5.00