If you have ever taken the ferry to Coochiemudlo from Victoria Point, walked down the jetty and looked over to the island, you would have had a vision that may just be hundreds, or even thousands of years old.
Yes, sure, squinting your eyes, you can see the Coochie jetty structure. And coming closer on the ferry, the community hall may be peeking through the trees, just above the red cliff giving the island its name.
But you'll notice that there is no structure or construction on the foreshore of Coochiemudlo Island, unlike the nearby Southern Moreton Bay Islands, or indeed any other inhabited island of Queensland. There are 500 dwellings and 700 residents on Coochiemudlo - but this little island looks like a magical mystery place, yet to explore!
How did it come about ? Over 130 years ago, when the Coochiemudlo was first surveyed for land sales, instructions were given to leave a corridor of “no less than 150 links [approx. 100 foot]” along the foreshore. First, for the western flank of the island, and later on all sides. The instructions were followed and today, people know this corridor as Coochiemudlo's "Emerald Fringe".
'The Emerald Fringe' - a whimsical name for the natural green belt surrounding the entire island. It stands for a panoply of native vegetation in all shades of green, including high and ancient gum trees with dense crowns, varieties of mangroves, casuarinas, and beach hibiscus.
The different trees, scrubs and dune grasses of the foreshore protect the island from weather and winds; they offer shelter and food for the many native birds.
And along with this vegetation, public amenities, footpaths, BBQ areas and benches are on public land still today, for everyone to enjoy and to explore.
The Emerald Fringe allows free access for all residents and visitors to walk around the entire island. It is a public zone right behind the public shoreline and beaches. It is precious and worth our protection - for future generations to enjoy.
Summer and winter, the emerald fringe is the scene of children's island adventures and wildlife discoveries, picnics at sunset, fishing at dawn, shade and rest after swim and play. It is the setting of the historical arrival of Matthew Flinders, the ANZAC commemorations, Santa on the Beach, our markets and Australia Day. It has been, for sure, a picturesque pitstop for the Quandamooka People on their journeys between Minjerribah Stradbroke and the Mainland.
If you have not been, the Emerald Fringe is a beautiful 5km nature walk, and the cooler winter months are a great time to go: Get onto it!
The Coochiemudlo Heritage Society has worked hard to put together an application to protect the Emerald Fringe for future generations. Only a week is left to support the application with your comment. The Heritage Society has put all info you need and some guidance to easily write a submission at this link : Emerald Fringe on Coochiemudlo
The application itself is a collection of facts, photos and historical documents well worth a read. The Coochiemudlo Heritage Society also has links to letters to guide you for your own support email to the Dept of Environment and Science.
Please do consider taking the time to help protect this space for everyone!