Mary Cairncross Reserve turns over a new leaf
  • Friday 20 May 2016
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve sod turning

The long-awaited construction of the new $4.7 million Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Discovery Centre, café and boardwalk began today when representatives from the community, council and the Queensland Government joined together to celebrate with an official sod turning.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the new Mary Cairncross Discovery Centre will improve council’s ability to reflect the conservation values of the reserve.

“More than 200,000 people visit the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve each year and I know that when complete, this new centre will enrich their experience at this extremely popular destination,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Today is a very important milestone for a project at one of our iconic locations which our residents and visitors are going to be able to enjoy for many years to come.”

Division 5 Councillor Jenny McKay said it was fantastic to see the project move to its final stage.

“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work from the Design Advisory Panel, volunteers and the Friends of Mary Cairncross,” Cr McKay said.

“They played a critical role in ensuring the building upgrade was sensitively designed to fit in with the look and feel of the Reserve and the project would never have reached this point without their on-going support.”

Cr McKay said the new building was designed to feel like it is part of the rainforest, while making the most of the Glass House Mountains views.

“When complete, visitors to the new interactive discovery centre will be able to go on a real journey of discovery and be able to touch, feel and learn about the reserve and explore what makes it so special,” Cr McKay said.

“They can take in the iconic views of the Glass House Mountains from eiher the new elevated viewing platform upstairs, or from the seating area of the new ground floor café.

“As they head outside, they can soak up the reserve by taking a walk at the rainforest edge on the new elevated boardwalk.

“A meeting and learning theatrette and new research space will provide a fresh working space to support the delivery of expanded conservation programmes.

“The guiding principle behind the redevelopment of building is to ensure all visitors whether to the Discovery Centre, elevated boardwalk, café, learning theatrette and viewing platform leave with a better understanding of the conservation values and ‘take home’ messages of the reserve, honouring the original deed or agreement.”

The project will also include a gift shop, offices and amenities.

The total project cost is $4.7 million and council’s construction budget is supported by $1 million funding from the Queensland Tourism Infrastructure Fund, an initiative under the Australian Government’s Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) program, administered by the Queensland Government through the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games.

The TDDI program will invest $43.1 million over four years from 2014-15 – including $7.86 million in Queensland – to drive tourism demand through building capability and tourism infrastructure which will provide a boost to local attractions and the businesses that depend on them.

The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Management Advisory Committee is also dedicating $250,000 to the project.

It is anticipated that the works will be completed by mid-2017.

Additional information

During construction:

  • There will be some minor modifications to parking and vehicle movement throughout the construction period, which will be clearly signed.
  • The Forest Walk will remain open, however visitors are asked to please pay attention to onsite signage as the access point to the forest walk will be changed to provide a safe environment for visitors.
  • A temporary Education Centre has been established near the bus parking area to welcome visitors to the reserve.
  • Council is currently pursuing arrangements for a refreshment van to operate onsite until the opening of the new facility.
  • Visitors can still enjoy the remainder of the park and the BBQ and picnic area during construction.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is highly recognised as a regional icon for its significant conservation values and has been a popular destination for residents and visitors for more than 50 years.  It attracts about 200,000 people annually.

Image: Sod turning at Mary Cairncross: (Left to right) Division One Cr Jenny McKay, General Manager of Tourism at Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and Commonwealth Games Neal Muller and Mayor Mark Jamieson