The Six Mile, Woogaroo and Goodna Creek (SWAG) Catchment area covers an area of approximately 12,750 hectares. It incorporates the suburbs of Bellbird Park, Brookwater, Camira, Collingwood Park, Gailes, Goodna, Redbank, Redbank Plains, Riverview, Springfield and Springfield Lakes.
The majority of the catchment area is in Ipswich City, with a small proportion in the Logan Shire. The three individual catchments support a diverse range of land uses including: urban development, retail shopping, light industrial estates, extractive industry and waste management, sporting and conservation areas, and community services
The SWAG catchment area lies on the eastern boundary of Ipswich City, between the Bremer River and Oxley Creek catchments. It forms a very small sub-catchment of the Brisbane River, with the three major waterways, Six Mile, Woogaroo and Goodna Creeks flowing directly into the Brisbane River.
The catchment area is bound by the ridges and hilltops extending north-east and north-north-west from the Spring Mountain / White Rock area. The highest point along the watershed, approximately 800m south of Spring Mountain, is 359m above sea level. Spring Mountain is the second highest peak at 356m above sea level.
Redbank is possibly the oldest and most historic settlement in the Moreton region, being named by Major Lockyer in 1825 after the red soil in the riverbank. In 1832 a government outstation was established at Redbank for sheep and cattle breeding. The Moreton region was later opened for free settlement by the government in 1842 and the first land sales occurred in July that year.
The Redbank area grew into an industrial centre, using river transport and a roadway that extended from Limestone (Ipswich) through Redbank to Brisbane. Farming and grazing continued in Redbank Plains with cotton becoming the primary crop during the 1860's. In January 1870, the Queensland Times reported that the total area sown for cotton growing in Redbank Plains was 1299 acres. Other primary production in the area included sugar cane, maize, lucerne, dairy farming and timber cutting.
James Josey is known as the 'Father of Redbank Plains' after becoming the largest landowner in the Redbank Plains District. Born in Aldworth, Berkshire England, 12 August 1821, James Josey was the son of a sawyer. In 1840 he was convicted for robbing a wagon and sentenced to 15 years penal servitude. He travelled on the convict ship 'Eden' to Australia and was sent to Moreton Bay in April 1841.
After working on a farm in Limestone (now Ipswich), James received his ticket of leave in April 1847, which entitled him to take up any occupation he wished. James entered into a partnership with a carpenter William Vowles. Along with a sawyer named Crouch, these men became pioneer sawyers at Pine Mountain and were involved in building the early houses of Ipswich.
In 1859 James Josey and George Faircloth purchased the first 1000 acres around Opossum Creek. They leased and later purchased another 5700 adjoining acres. James also owned acreage in Redbank Plains, 420 acres, and New Chum, 106 acres. By the 1870's he owned approximately 27km2 (2700 ha) in the district.
Eden Station was the name given to the main property on which James and his family resided. The farm initially produced timber and cattle, and later sugar and cotton crops. The operation was considered so successful that the Governor took visitors to Eden Station to show how convicts could succeed in the new colony.
In 1876 timber on the Josey property along Opossum Creek was considered to be of the best quality with native species such as Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), Red cedar (Toona austalis), Black Bean (Castanospermum australe) and Bumpy Ash (Flindersia schottiana) being logged.
Large amounts of timber were taken by bullock teams to the Goodna wharf and shipped to Ipswich and Brisbane. Native timbers were continually logged after the Josey family by the Kruger sawmill and then later by Burnie Boards for hardboard production.
Experimental logging plots were planted in the area using exotic pines, Sydney blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna), Flooded gum (Eucalyptus grandis) and Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) for logging purposes. Remnants of these stands still exist within the Springfield Lakes development along Opossum, Mountain and Woogaroo Creeks.
The Redbank-Goodna area was an important centre for Aboriginal occupation up until the late 1800's. The section along Goodna Creek, now known as Goupong Park, was a major camp area. Archaeological surveys in the area revealed a large site (approx. 1000m2) to the east of Goodna Creek, on the western boundary of the rifle range. Remnants of flakes of chert, silcrete and siliceous stone have been found in the area. Other material including ceramics were also found, however, the origin of this material is unclear.
The flat south of Goodna Railway Station along Bertha Street was known as a camp area for visitors, possibly from the Redbank Plains area. Historical records suggest that a bora ring and ceremonial grounds were located at Redbank, near the Redbank Hotel where the railway workshops are now located. There is also a bora ring at Camira, on the Ipswich-Brisbane boundary.
An archaeological inspection conducted in 1991 found three Aboriginal sites and a few isolated artefact scatters within the Woogaroo and Opossum Creek catchment area. Two sites are near the junction of Woogaroo and Opossum Creeks, while the other is on Opossum Creek approximately 1km east of the former Eden homestead. This site is regionally significant as it is close to the Camira Bora Ring, 'Ngutanalui'. Other areas of cultural significance exist within the White Rock/Spring Mountain Conservation Estate.
The Redbank Rifle Range was developed in 1912 for use by local sporting shooters and to establish a reserve defence force. The Rifle Range was used for military training exercises during World War I and World War II. Firing ranges also existed to the south of Redbank Plains towards White Rock. Three gunpits were constructed of low walls of small sandstone blocks, built in semi-circles around dug-out depressions in the ground. Remnants of the gunpits still exist today along the ridgeline south west of White Rock.
During World War II a large army camp was established at Redbank. The first contingent of 400 men marched into the camp on 21 October 1939, with the initial quota of 2500 men being reached soon afterwards. The camp gradually developed into a small township with huts, hospitals, a post office, bank, water supply and sewerage lines established. At the height of the war up to 6000 troops were based at Redbank.
In 1942 and 1943 approximately 80 000 soldiers from the US 32nd Division were based at Camp Cable, Jimboomba. These soldiers trained around White Rock and Spring Mountain, particularly the area where the Redbank Plains Library and Recreational Reserve are today. In 1966, soldiers from 6RAR (6th Royal Australian Regiment) trained at Spring Mountain. These soldiers fought in the Battle of Long Tan in the Vietnam War, 1967.
The first mining operation in the area was a small coal mine along the southern banks of the Brisbane River, Redbank opening in 1843 by John Williams. The 'Pioneer Mine' supplied coal for the steamship 'Sovereign' for a short time. Large coal deposits were later discovered in the 1850's and numerous mining operations soon developed between Redbank and Blackstone.
The Red Hill Mine opened in 1866 but was later abandoned in the mid 1870's. In 1881, James Gulland of the Old Tivoli Mine resumed work at Red Hill. The alternate name New Chum was used for the mine site and soon became the name for the whole area. By 1884, the mine shaft was more than 60m deep and produced 130-140 tonnes per day. James Gulland paid for the construction of a branch railway connecting the mine with the main Ipswich-Brisbane railway line and built 28 four-roomed cottages for his employees at New Chum. In 1987 Aberdare Collieries Pty Ltd bought the township of New Chum and auctioned the buildings for removal or demolition to expand its open cut mining operations.
Pottery and brickworks industries were well established in the area by the 1890's. Products such as crockery, drain pipes, bricks, water bottles, butter coolers, flower pots, and stove and gutter tiles were produced. In 1931, a brickworks at New Chum was opened to produce firebricks for furnaces, engine blocks for railways and some house bricks. It was later sold to Claypave in 1985.
A down draft double-chamber kiln with its distinctive bottle shaped top was built in 1933 at Redbank, and can still be seen from the Ipswich Motorway. It is believed to be the only remaining kiln of its type in Australia. This historical site was the first in Queensland to produce electric and industrial porcelain. Owner and builder, Mr Bill Milner, now makes specialist industrial ceramics and is also involved in developing waste disposal techniques. The Redbank Pottery Works is located on the original site of the 1850s brickworks owned by J.E.Campbell.
Over 1300 species of plants and animals have been recorded in the Six Mile, Woogaroo and Goodna Creeks Catchment area, with approximately 90% being native species. Exotic, or introduced, species include: blue billygoat weed, groundsel, chinese elm, salvinia, lantana, camphor laurel, cane toad, spotted turtle dove, common myna, fox and hare.
Thirteen significant flora and fauna species have been recorded for the catchment, existing primarily in small remnants along Woogaroo and Opossum Creeks, within the Spring Mountain / White Rock Conservation Estate and in a remnant of woodland heath at Camira. Most of these species only exist as a few isolated specimens and are currently threatened by urban development and expansion of light industries. These species have been classified as rare, endangered or vulnerable under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 1994, as follows:
|Vulnerable||The distinctive plate-shaped scratchings of the Black-breated button-quail have been sighted within the scrub along Opossum Creek. The quail tends to prefer the wet forests but also occurs in the drier vine forests and amongst lantana thickets. It is usually found in small family groups and will quickly disappear when disturbed.|
|Rare||The Black-chinned Honeyeater has been recorded in eucalypt forests along Woogaroo Creek, Redbank Plains and within the Springfield estate, favouring the shelter of riparian habitats.|
|Glossy Black |
|Vulnerable||The Glossy Black Cockatoo has been recorded in Bellbird Park, Goodna and Spring Mountain/White Rock Conservation Estate. It feeds primarily on the seed capsules of sheoaks (Allocasuarina sp.) and breeds between March and August, nesting in tree hollows. This species is often mistaken for the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, which is bigger and has a larger head crest.|
|Rare||The rare Green-thighed Frog was first recorded along Woogaroo Creek, Bellbird Park in 1991. It is a small rich brown frog, approximately 40mm long, with brilliant green to blue coloured thights and groin area. The species only occurs in a few areas from Southern Queensland to Sydney and has been known to quickly disappear from a site.|
|Rare||The only recent recorded sighting of the rare Grey Goshawk has been at Bellbird Park, along Woogaroo Creek. Sometimes known as the white goshawk, it can be distinguished by its powerful yellow legs and red eyes. Breeding occurs between August and December, raising two to four chicks.|
|Vulnerable||The Powerful Owl has been recorded along Woogaroo and Opossum Creek and within the White Rock Conservation Estate. It tends to roost in the dense riparian vegetation during the day and hunts in open forests and suburban gardens for small mammals and birds at night.|
|Vulnerable||The Richmond Birdwing butterfly has been listed as a vulnerable species due to the loss of its preferred habitat. It feeds primarily on pipe vines in rainforest areas. The introduced Dutchman's Pipe Vine, Aristolochia elegans, has had a detrimental impact on the species by attracting egg-laying females, then killing the larvae that feed on it. The only record of this species within the SWAG catchment is within a remnant of Woogaroo Scrub along Woogaroo Creek, Goodna.|
|Indigofera baileyi||Rare||Small herb with several slender stems. Small pink flowers appear in spring to summer.|
|Plectrantus suaveolens||Rare||This sweet smelling shrub has branches up to 80cm long, with short white hairs. Flowers are along racemes up to 35cm long, and are predominantly blue to violet. Flowering occurs most of the year round.|
|Rare||The plunkett malee is a smooth-barked multi-stemmed tree growing to approximately 6-8 metres. It is generally found growing on sandy or stony clay soils, often in sandstone areas. Flowering occurs in spring as clusters of fluffy white flowers. E. curtisii is the floral emblem of Ipswich and makes an excellent ornamental for home gardens.|
|Vulnerable||A very slender, small, twining vine that grows as an understorey plant in open eucalypt forests. It has only been located in a few places in South East Queensland including White Rock Conservation Estate. Flowering occurs in spring and autumn.|