The Brush Nature Reserve, first protected in 1906, has several entrances, connected by the Graham Allen Boardwalk and an offshoot – “Flying Fox Circuit”. The reserve is approximately 10.hectares of rain forest and a group of volunteers (one being Graham Allen) was instrumental in ‘saving’ the overgrown reserve. Walking along the boardwalk, day turns to darkness with the thick canopy above. Fig trees and creepers have taken over other trees. There was a warning about “The Giant Stinging Tree” which we had never come across before. Thanks for the warning!
Mounds of leaves and dirt appear here and there, the work of the bush turkeys. There were not as many birds as we expected, but no shortage of flying foxes. Three kinds live in the reserve: Grey-headed, Little-red and Black. The reserve is a flying fox camp and maternity site. Around Christmas 2005 there was a heatwave with temperatures in excess of 40C and 5,000 flying boxes succumbed. From what we saw, their numbers are back up again. We went back at night time, to see if any animals moved around the forest floor while the flying foxes were away, but did not see any.
Each evening as the sun sets, the sky above is full of flying foxes departing on their mission to find food, flying up to 50.km in their search – and they’re are noisy!
One exit from the reserve is near the old Wingham Wharf on the Manning River. The original wharf was constructed in the 1830’s and was a major shipping port in 1835. Nearby, an impressive mosaic conversation seat, dedicated to the memory of an obviously popular Mick Tuck – Wingham Mayor between 1999 and 2003.