Moreton Bay Quandamooka & Catchment: Past, present, and future

This e-Book was generously gifted to The Moreton Bay Foundation by the independent group of scientists, consultants and industry experts who organised and presented the Moreton Bay Quandamooka & Catchment Forum.  The e-Book is a compilation of the research presented at the Forum with the latest updates available at the time of publication.

The individual research papers are available online (below) or you can purchase the printed book here (approx 640 pages) for $95 plus GST plus postage.


With a catchment stretching from the Coomera River’s source near Binna Burra to the Brisbane River’s source at Mt Stanley in the north, and the Bay itself extending from the Broadwater in the south to Caloundra in the north, Moreton Bay and its catchment cover a huge area of approximately 22,898 km2 and nurture millions of people. Burgeoning populations, urbanisation and industrialisation has put this system under substantial ecological pressure. There is some urgency to take a closer look at how it is doing so, from the 1st to 3rd November 2016 we did just that in the form of the Moreton Bay (Quandamooka) Forum.

The Forum revisited many of the issues addressed at the Moreton Bay & Catchment Conference of 1996 and brought together people with expertise and a passion for Moreton Bay and the health of the lands and waters in its catchment. At the outset, my position had been that this meeting should be a partnership between institutions, entities and individuals, and ideally should not only deliver an update of research, but also find a way forward so that we would not have to wait another 20 years for a reprise. It would take all those engaged in research, governance and citizen science to come together to foster the Bay and catchment.

We succeeded with the Forum due only to the kind offer from particularly brave individuals to act as leaders of the ten discipline areas. They  recruited experts and managed the process of putting together a series of presentations designed to cover the latest information available on their topic.

Some 170 attendees from a wide diversity of backgrounds and disciplines signed on, and most got to hear all of the presentations. Chaired by the ten Cluster Leaders, the first two full days were assigned to a rapid-fire series of ten-minute talks that summarised the current state of knowledge on a topic and identified key priorities. The third day was reserved for a series of synthesis meetings led by Cluster Leaders that drew on the evidence heard on the first two days. These leaders continued to donate their time following the Forum to manage the writing process that has resulted in the chapters contained in this book.

Significant moments included an impassioned talk on Respect and Recognition (Mind the Gap) by Darryl Burns of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC); Andrew Davidson’s very amusing and insightful talk on catchment planning, with his duggie (dugong) awards; and Justine Kemp’s sobering analysis of regional pre- vs post-“European” sediment erosion histories. No doubt others will have their own significant moments, but perhaps the most significant few minutes of the entire forum occurred when John Goodman of the Goodman Family Foundation stood up and pledged before those gathered that the Goodman Family Foundation would support  the establishment of a Moreton Bay Foundation, pledging $500,000 to that end. A remarkable family who are now likely to make a singular impact on the well-being of the region.

The Forum was followed by two years of work led by Tamara Homburg and the Cluster Leaders, seeking paper submissions from contributors, organising independent peer review volunteers, all guided by a dedicated group of volunteer editors, including Peter Rothlisberg, Angela Arthington, David Brewer and David Neil. We met in coffee shops, restaurants and offices to thrash out the structure of this electronic volume. It has been a process filled with interesting challenges calmly solved by Tamara. Thankfully, unlike the 1996 meeting we are able to fund Colleen Foelz as a copy editor and publish electronically, which will allow us to add periodically to a compendium of knowledge about the Bay and its attendant systems. This eBook will grow.

To conclude, the Moreton Bay (Quandamooka) and Catchment Forum of 2016, was an important event; both by what it achieved at the time, and what it has sparked since; particularly the establishment of the multi-institutional and independent Moreton Bay Foundation Limited (TMBF). I am convinced, as are the founding members of TMBF (The Goodman Family Foundation, QYAC , The University of Queensland, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology and, more recently, the University of the Sunshine Coast), that we now have a mechanism that will ensure future partnerships in research and restoration, independent advice to government, a voice of truth to power and a focus around which to join in meetings to regularly review where we are and what we have to do to gain the best for Moreton Bay and its catchment. At last, no more will an individual have to muse about whether or not it is time for another Moreton Bay meeting. The future is here, thank goodness.

Ian R Tibbetts
Convenor, Moreton Bay (Quandamooka) and Catchment Forum 2016
Director, The Moreton Bay Foundation

PS: What I wrote by way of Preface twenty years ago has sadly stood the test of time. I could put forth the same arguments and summaries today. My co-editor on the proceedings of the 1996 conference, Professor Bill Dennison, kindly posted a PDF copy on a site at the University of Maryland (Moreton-Bay-and-Catchment 1998) so you can judge that call for yourself. Perhaps the greatest advance in the intervening years was the formal recognition of Traditional Owner rights over sea and land resources through the establishment of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation. QYAC has made great strides towards recognition of Quandamooka as a World Heritage site based on its singular combination of cultural heritage and high biodiversity. Perhaps one of the greatest retrograde steps has been the proposal by Redland Council to excise an area of the central western Bay from our international obligations under the Ramsar agreement, and permit a development that would destroy vital habitat for migratory wading birds. Quite a remarkable snub to the planet and our international obligations, I think.


Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements

Chapter 1 Indigenous Knowledge and Culture

Chapter 2 Communities and Values

Chapter 4 Water Quality, Land-Use and Land-Cover

Chapter 5 Habitats, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function

Chapter 6 Citizen Science

Chapter 7 Industry and Planning

Chapter 8 Moreton Bay Marine Park