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September 08, 2022 3 min read

Aussie Couple Transform Banana Farm Into Pristine Rainforest…

It's that time of the week again GFZ's, time for the weekly dose of good Earth feels. 

This week's story takes place in our backyard in Queensland. With a Gold Coast couple's 40-year quest to restore a banana farm to a pristine rainforest habitat. (We know what you're thinking, 40 years? But stay with us!) 

In 1977 at age 19, Wal Mayr purchased an old banana plantation in Austinville with his wife Heather, and guess what? It cost them $7000 for 10 hectares, can you believe it, those were the days…

The property was initially covered in luscious rainforest but had now almost been entirely cleared for banana trees. 

Mr & Mrs Mayr had a plan, unknowingly a 40-year plan to return the land to its original habitat. (We know a couple of do-gooders when we see them). 

Ready to hear how this couple with a single whipper snipper, no skills and no knowledge of where to start, made it happen? Let's dive in. 

Go For Zero Happy Earth News

How a Couple Restored a QLD Rainforest…

Wal & Heather had nothing but their mission in mind. 

In previous articles, they said that it was easy at the start to bite off more than they could chew and knew they had to tackle the vast space zone by zone. They even admit to taking some zones with nothing but a whipper snipper and no idea. 

As time passed, the couple had their kids working on the property to share the workload and gradually collaborated with Gold Coast City Council Land for Wildlife officers to increase their knowledge about restoring the rainforest's habitat. 

There were invasive weeds, terrain challenges & all sorts to tackle, but once the weeds were removed it allowed native plants to grow and form a space to reduce light and helped control unwanted vegetation. How cool!?

As time passed, the couple invested in the neighbouring property, and those 10 hectares quickly turned into 60! 

Queensland Local Landcare Group…

This legendary couple at the time was also involved in their local Landcare group; they started one to help tackle the weeds because the whipper snipper wasn't cutting it. See what I did there. 

The couple and their volunteer group would work each month to help restore the plantation and property, and their impact indeed showed.

Mr Mayr was recognised with the Australian Government's Individual Landcare Award at the National Landcare Awards! This then led to grants and new expansion opportunities for the years to come. 

Go For Zero Happy Earth News

The Future of This Rainforest… 

Wait, you mean the 40 years is still going?! That's bananas! (Haha well, actually it was). We don't want to be the ones to say it, but it's taken more than 40 years, Mr Mayr said his property has almost been returned to its original habitat, and the expansion and continuation leave more to come. 

They hope to continue this fantastic venture within their family or hope that they will find a landowner who will continue the legacy to come! Well, sign us up, Wal & Heather! 

Know of another couple of do-gooders out there making a difference like these two? We'd love to hear from you here at askusanything@goforzero.com.au.

Not to toot our own horn but if you loved this story we think you’ll love the story about these conservationists who bought a fishing licence to protect Great Barrier Reef marine wildlife. 

Thanks for tuning in GFZ’s, until next week!

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