The only access to “Belltrees” is via Mudford’s Lane. The property is at the very end of the lane. It is bordered to the north and west by Coorabakh National Park. This creates a perfectly private retreat - yet it is only 30 minutes from Taree.
The Great Escarpment runs almost the length of eastern Australia. Follow that edge to the south and you end up in Melbourne. Turn to the north and you head to Cairns. Its steep rugged topography prevented its conversion to an agricultural landscape and now provides refuge for so much of our biodiversity
Below the escarpment edge the deep gullies and high rainfall allow for a luxuriant and endangered world of subtropical rainforest - giant tree ferns, massive vines, palm trees and tall buttressed booyongs and carabeens. Such a precious ecosystem surely requires protection and that is the rationale for covenanting around one hundred hectares of “Belltrees”
The headwaters of Cross Creek run through the centre of “Belltrees”, ultimately spilling into the Lansdowne River.
Going to work in Taree, via Warren’s Lane, means my crossing this river bordered by a cathedral rainforest. Platypus regularly travel this stretch affording occasionally daytime sightings.
The forty acres of arable land on “Belltrees” operate as a horse stud.
Before and After. Festooned with lantana and exuberant water vine, the rainforest canopy beneath is hidden and dying. In 1996 only a few Bangalow Palms could be seen but after the removal of the exotic plants the canopy rapidly recovered as seen in the photograph of 2006.
This slab cottage in the centre of “Belltrees” was modelled on the original settlers’ style.
Quolls are the largest marsupial carnivore on the Australian mainland. Being nocturnal and arboreal, they are unseen and unknown to the majority of Australians. “Belltrees” is a refuge for this endangered species. Their scats are regularly found at the cottage and even the farm house.
All the windows in the house look out onto feeders. These are visited by an array of wildlife both day and night.
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