Rob McArthur believes life, like luck, is what you make it.
Despite his grandfather’s good fortune when first purchasing Mystery Park, today the property’s success has resulted from smart management decisions made by Rob and his wife Ainsley, as well as a lot of hard work on and off farm.
Rob is a current Fitzroy River & Coastal Catchments (FRCC) committee member, and the couple are active members of Broadsound CQ BEEF (Better Economic and Environmental Futures) group.
In 2008 he learned of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country Reef Rescue voluntary on-ground grants and soon after received approval for a grant to implement a Regional Ecosystem and Riparian Fencing Project. The project included 11 km of riparian fencing, six troughs, three tanks and an eight-kilometre poly-pipe watering system.
He used his hardwood timber for fence posts, paid for two of the project tanks and provided his time to contribute about 50 per cent of the value of the project, one of the guidelines of Reef Rescue.
“For our property, it’s helping us fund things I was going to do anyway,” said Rob. It sped it up so we could achieve our long-term sustainability goals sooner.”
As for benefits to the Great Barrier Reef, FRCC Project Officer Lisa Sutton said the project will increase groundcover, substantially reducing soil erosion and improving the quality of runoff from Mystery Park entering St Lawrence Creek.
“Most of the St Lawrence Creek catchment is within Mystery Park – this makes the project extra special,” she said. “Plus many of the property’s riparian areas were identified as having regional biodiversity significance and several were fenced prior to the current project.”
Ms Sutton recently established photo monitoring sites and took initial photos of the property, which will provide valuable documentation of environmental improvements resulting from the project.
Ms Sutton said the pasture, overall land condition and productive capacity had improved, and Rob commented that even the cattle were happier.
“You wouldn’t get a very good drink from the creek if you were the 80th to arrive,” he said. “So the improved water quality is benefiting the cattle as well as the reef.”