Johnstone Ecological Society
Innisfail conservationists began planting rainforest trees in Innisfail on an old riverside dump site in 1982.¬† They wanted to highlight the importance of the¬† value of rainforests at the time of the campaign to stop logging in Downey Creek – the¬† last untouched section of what was then the Palmerston N.P. (now Wooroonooran N.P.) prior to the start of the World Heritage campaign for the Wet Tropics Rainforest.
The project continued with the help of funding from the Bicentennial Authority¬† and many varieties of trees were planted and named, and paths laid. It was officially opened in Sept 1988 by Lawrie Strange of the Australian Bicentennial Committee.
The arboretum has been severely damaged by cyclones Winifred 1986, Larry 2006, and Yasi 2011 with many of the original trees and labels destroyed. After each cyclonic event dedicated members armed with chainsaws , clippers, rakes etc have undertaken to help restore the forests and its paths. The care of, and commitment to, the arboretum continues to this day.
A walk along the three hundred metres of track shows the resilience of the rainforest as it recovers from cyclone damage. The rainforest¬† paths reveal a diversity of plant species and support a myriad of bird and insect life, including a resident orange footed scrub fowl pair – so near the middle of Innisfail.