Geoff Skinner Wetlands Reserve on Wellington Point’s eastern foreshore is a large saltmarsh fringed with mangroves, sheoaks and eucalyptus trees. These wetlands are internationally recognized as part of the Moreton Bay Ramsar site.
More than 100 different bird species have been sighted in the Geoff Skinner Reserve according to birdwatcher reports on eBird.
An area on the western side of the Reserve is frequented by a variety of water birds.
Between September and April, large numbers of migratory shorebirds roost in the Reserve at mid to high tide including Eastern curlews, Whimbrels and Bar-tailed godwits.
Other birdlife in the roosting area include year round residents such as Pied oystercatchers, White-faced herons, Caspian terns and Gull-billed terns.
Rainbow bee-eaters can sometimes be seen flying around tall trees in the southern part of the Reserve.
Australasian pipits frequent the salt marsh especially where there are patches of tussock grass.
Raptors occasionally soar over the Reserve including Brahminy kites and white-bellied sea eagles.
Koalas can sometimes be found in the eucalyptus trees which fringe the southern part of the Reserve.
Wallabies can occasionally be seen in the vegetated areas fringing the saltmarsh.
A feral European red fox has been observed crossing the salt marsh.
Access and facilities
A small bird hide is located about 100 metres from where birds tend to gather at mid to high tide. It can be accessed by car via O’Connell Parade off Apsley Street in Wellington Point.
There are no established walking trails or boardwalks in the Geoff Skinner Reserve. Rough tracks and paths can be explored on foot from the corner of Fernbourn Road and Bligh Street, but this entails climbing over a steel gate.
Other facilities like picnic areas, rubbish bins and toilets are totally lacking.
History of the Geoff Skinner Wetlands
This area was declared a reserve for public recreation in 1888.
Early ideas for use of the area included draining the salt pans and building a sea wall so that the drained and protected area could be used for recreation. In 1900 a proposal was aired for the area to be used as a rifle range.
From 1947 through to the 1970s various proposals were put forward for development of the reserve including construction of a boat harbour, reclamation of land for construction of 2,500 houses, and even a canal estate.
The Government was reluctant to allow development in this area which had already been declared a recreation reserve.
In 1988, a century after its initial reserve status was declared, the area was named the Geoff Skinner Reserve. Geoff Skinner was a local councillor for six years from 1982, remembered for his passionate stand on environmental matters.
Properties in Bligh Street were purchased by Redland City Council in 2005 and added to the Geoff Skinner Wetlands. In 2018 one additional property in Bligh Street was purchased by the Council and added to this conservation area. Bligh Street has now been closed to vehicular traffic.
Early history information was sourced from ‘Wellington Point’ part of the ‘Redlands Coast Timelines’ series which can be downloaded from the Redland City Council’s website.
Wild Redlands – 28 September 2016
Reviewed and updated 9 June 2021