Many longtime locals would know the Yallambi Farm that sits at 79 Farm Road, Bunya, as home of the old Wongun Post Office that opened in 1875.
The Wongun Post Office operated for 75 years, providing much needed services to the isolated community of Bunya. However, today with development being at an all-time high, it is of no surprise that the Yallambi property has been purchased by a developer.
The Bunya Residents Association (BRA) have expressed and submitted their numerous concerns about the development application (DA/2021/0062) (DA) that has been lodged with Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC). However, the DA is ‘Code Assessable’ meaning interested parties have no right to object; only to make submissions identifying concerns and to make suggestions.
Under the DA, it is proposed that the subject land be divided into parcels of 4000m2 lots. Although the Yallambi Farm is zoned as ‘Rural Residential’ (ie land can only be divided into 6000m2 lots), MBRC, at its discretion, may allow lots to be divided into parcels of 4000m2 if the Developer provides ‘significant community benefit’ in some way.
The Developer proposes to give to MBRC 21ha of Core Koala Habitat on the Yallambi property, on the western side of Begin Creek, identifying this as the ‘significant community benefit’ to justify the relaxation of the 6000m2 zoning to 4000m2. But as Mr Smith from the BRA explains, this Core Koala Land can never be developed. ‘It is bushland now; it will be bushland forever. As far as the community is concerned, nothing changes. They have received no benefit. In fact, now, the ratepayer must bear the costs of bushfire management, weed eradication, etc,’ said Mr Smith.
As an alternative, or in addition to the Core Koala Habitat, the BRA has made a submission to MBRC to include a park in the proposed DA. The suggested park would be located at the site of the historic Wongun Post Office and would include children’s play equipment, a picnic shelter, a BBQ. Significantly, the park would include the three magnificent trees which mark its historic location. The trees, which are present in old photos, though much larger now, include two huge, very old Moreton Bay figs thought to be over 130 years old and four significant hoop pines. The Tree Protection Zones (TPZs) around these heritage trees, make this area unsuitable for residential housing in any case.
Although the Developer proposes that the trees will be protected by tree covenants on the lot title, the BRA is concerned that this will not be effective in protecting the trees. Mr Smith explains,‘The effect of tree covenants is that the lot owner cannot use the land around the tree for a distance determined by the height, width and age of the tree. So those blocks are technically 4000m2, but effectively are much smaller.’ He further explains, ‘But these magnificent old trees are still on private land, at risk of accidental or deliberate destruction. A tree covenant is no use when the tree is dead. A fine cannot replace a wonderful old tree. They would be safe in a park. They are part of our environmental heritage. We must do all we can to preserve them.’
If the park was included in the development, the BRA intends to erect information boards about the historic Wongun Post Office, providing information to the public about this historic site. The Developer has allowed BRA to retrieve some timber from the original post office building, timber which has been stored in a shed on the Yallambi property since the Wongun Post Office was demolished by the last owner Mr Frigo. This timber will be reused to make the information boards. The Wongun Post Office, the many postmasters, and the very long service provided by Robert and Emily Weston, deserve to be acknowledged. All these people were very important to this isolated community of Bunya in the early years.
The BRA has made its submissions to MBRC about the Yallambi Development, the park and other matters. However, the latest plans as submitted by the Developer as of 5th August 2021 do not appear to include a park and identify the significant trees and the heritage site on lots that are proposed to be sold.
The Bunya Residents Association would be grateful for community support for the MBRC park in the Yallambi Development, encompassing the historic Wongun Post Office heritage site, its three markers trees, the two big old Moreton Bay figs, and the four significant hoop pine trees.
Further information about BRA’s concerns about the Yallambi Development can be found on BRA’s website at www.bunyaresidents.asn.au/yallambi-development