SOWN is a community catchment organisation working to restore the habitats of creeks and waterways in the catchments of Enoggera, Ithaca and Fish Creeks in Brisbane's north and west.
The creeks draining this part of the Enoggera Catchment are over 23 kms in length and become Breakfast Creek before feeding into the Brisbane River at Newstead.
SOWN promotes an integrated catchment management approach to priority areas identified in partnership with the Brisbane City Council's Waterways Strategy and in association with communities and local groups.
While some of the creek system is being rehabilitated, a great deal of work will be needed to extend the area to join current sites and to maintain the rehabilitated areas to prevent their re-infestation with weeds.
SOWN celebrates 25 years in 2019
SOWN celebrated its 25th year of caring for Enoggera catchment in March 2019.
SOWN commissioned ToadShow (Anne Jones and Rob Whyte) to produce a history of our activities and achievements from 1994 to 2019. The history is now available free to read or download as an eBook - see Home page.
The SOWN history book was launched on Sunday, 24 March at the Old Newmarket Bowls Club, close to some of the original SOWN plantings.
Over 100 long-term and new SOWN members and friends attended and the SOWN 25th Anniversary history book was launched to great acclaim.
The Objectives of SOWN as set out in the Constitution (amended 7 December 2019), are as follows:
- To rehabilitate, restore and maintain Enoggera Creek catchment waterways and linked habitat areas by supporting and encouraging community participation;
- To restore catchment health and biodiversity;
- To provide a best practice working model for catchment group activities;
- To increase community awareness, understanding and participation;
- To support and encourage members, interested persons and other relevant organisations to participate in activities relating to the objects of the association;
- To receive any funds and to distribute these funds in a manner that best attains the objects of the association; and
- To do all things which are incidental or conducive to the attainment of all or any of the objects of the association.
SOWN wins Lord Mayor's 'Green Heart Award - Organisation' for 2017
SOWN won the Lord Mayor's Australia Day 'Green Heart Award - Organisation' in 2017.
In making the award the Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, said that SOWN is 'a perfect example of a local group giving back to the community at a grassroots level ... by rehabilitating waterways, increasing community awareness ... and also providing valuable environmental education to prisoners at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre'.
The Lord Mayor presented the award to SOWN President, Leo Lee at the January 2017 Australia Day events.
SOWN works in partnership with many organisations and has many partners, sponsors and supporters.
We thank them all for their assistance including: with the operation of our nursery; with on-ground creek revegetation work; and for engagement with the local community.
Our sponsors and supporters include:
- Brisbane City Council Environmental Grants program for ongoing administrative and nursery operations funding;
- Brisbane City Council Creek Catchment and Habitat Brisbane programs;
- BCC Councillors in the catchment and particularly Cr Steve Toomey and The Gap Ward Office;
- The Hon. Kate Jones, State Member for Cooper;
- Julian Simmonds MP, Federal Member for Ryan and Trevor Evans MP, Federal Member for Brisbane;
- Qld Department of Environment and Science for nursery expansion project funding;
- Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre for our nursery partnership;
- Healthy Land and Water;
- SEQ Water;
- Local schools in the catchment;
- Paten Park Native Nursery;
- Western Echo newspaper for monthly articles;
- Our many corporate volunteers;
- All our members for their time and resources
- All our volunteers who turn up to events
Support from Brisbane City Council Environmental Grants Program
BCC grants ENV19-20429 and ENV19-20430
SOWN has been successful in two grant applications for funding to administer the organisation, engage the community, and to operate the nursery for 2020.
ENV19-20429 SOWN Nursery Plant Propagation and Distribution
ENV19-20430 Operation of SOWN
We wish to acknowledge the generosity and support of the Brisbane City Council and The Gap Ward Office in providing these funds.
In September 1993, at a meeting of the committee of The Men of The Trees (MOTT), which was held in what is now the main meeting room of the office of the Greening Australia Nursery in Paten Park, The Gap, Queensland, Naigretta Brennan, President of MOTT (Qld.), asked Brian Hallinan, the then Alderman (Councillor) for the ward of The Gap if he would manage the portfolio of 'new project funding applications'.
For some time. Brian had been concerned at the deteriorating state of Enoggera and Ithaca Creeks and the city council's view that creeks were but drains for the speedy removal of storm water. He was also critical of the bull dozer methods used to clear the creeks of weeds, without realising that those weeds, though mostly exotic, were the habitats of many species of native birds, animals and reptiles.
His plan was to establish a community-based organisation, which would provide the knowledge, energy and enthusiasm, to carry out the rehabilitation of the creeks and gullies in the catchment area of the Enoggera and Ithaca Creek system. The section chosen stretched from the weir, near Kelvin Grove Road, below which the creek was known as Breakfast Creek and affected by tides, to the base of the Enoggera Reservoir, above which is managed by the Brisbane Forest Park Authority. The catchment, under SOWN management, covered an area of twenty-eight square kilometres.
In order to tap into local knowledge of the creek system, Brian invited the existing Enoggera Creek Committee, under the leadership of Trevor Ozanne, a lecturer in horticulture at Grovely TAFE, to form the nucleus of the steering committee to establish SOWN. The SOWN committee was formed on 1st March 1994 and, because it had not been incorporated, operated under the wing of the Men of The Trees Inc. The committee's first action was to establish six simple objects, which read as follows:
- Provide a working model for the rehabilitation of waterways and their local environments.
- Develop a catchment plan with which to manage the rehabilitation work.
- Recruit volunteers for each area and to provide support to assist them in carrying out their tasks.
- Rehabilitate the waterways and their local environments by the removal of rubbish and unwanted vegetation and to plant and maintain appropriate native species of vegetation .
- Maintain records of the rehabilitation as it progresses.
- Encourage other like-minded communities to adopt the SOWN program.