I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published September 6th 2017
Look for bats and birds
I only recently heard about the Banks Street Reserve from two friends who live in Ashgrove. One was walking there regularly to train for a trip she was planning to do. She is over in Spain now walking the Camino. The other one, who has lived in Ashgrove for over thirty years, has only just recently started going there. She invited me over to her place recently to do a walk through the Reserve and then to have coffee.
We set off walking from her house, down across Ashgrove Avenue and entered the Reserve from Quandong Street. Soon after getting into the Reserve, we came to a large open area. My friend told me it used to be a Chinese market garden but the gardens were destroyed in the 1974 Brisbane floods.
There were plans to turn the area into sporting fields, but the local community lobbied against this. The large open grassed land is now an unofficial area where people go to let their dogs have a run. People can also walk their dogs on leads through the Reserve and we did see a couple of dogs when we were there.
The 34 hectare Reserve is a small oasis for wildlife and birds in the middle of suburbia. There have been a lot of trees planted in the Reserve as part of Brisbane's two million trees program. It was also great to see a lot of nest boxes throughout the area, although I did notice the bats seemed to prefer sleeping in the trees, rather than the bat nest box. We did see some birds going into one of the bird nest boxes though.
The Banks Street Reserve is only five kilometres from Brisbane's city centre. I read remnants of the Three Mile Scrub rainforest are still evident along Enoggera Creek and its tributary, which run through the area. I tried to find some historic photographs of the Reserve in the State Library of Queensland, but couldn't find any. I did find one of a collapsed bridge in Ashgrove Avenue in 1926, and discovered Ashgrove Avenue used to be called Three Mile Scrub Road.
The Reserve caters for everyone. There are bike tracks and well-marked walking tracks, including the Sacred Kingfisher track, the Spangled Drongo Track, the Scrub Turkey Track, the Boobook Owl Track and the Eastern Whipbird Track.
The area is good for bird, bat and wildlife watching. Information boards throughout the Reserve describe the history, wildlife and plants of the area. There are also photographs of early logging days and plants Aboriginal people used for bush tucker.
We spent a couple of hours walking around some of the tracks coming out onto Banks Street in Alderley, then doing a circuit back to Ashgrove through the Reserve. We ended up again back in Ashgrove Avenue and enjoyed having coffee and a delicious snack at Gerbino's Pasticeria and Bakery before walking back to my friend's house.
Great to read this article! I was one of the many Newmarket residents who collected signatures in the 1970s to save this area from being developed. ( housing estate was planned for the Alderley section off Banks St) The land had apparently been gifted to the council years before by a group of Banks St residents to be kept as open space ( this was separate from the market gardens on the Ashgrove side). Eventually I believe that it was these original documents stating the conditions of giving the land to the council, that saved the area. I do remember locals kept planting trees in the middle of the sporting fields that were being developed after the market gardens went.