Our Story

Our Story

Just before sunset one August day twenty years ago about a hundred people, me and my family included, watched baby Flatback Turtles make their way into the shallows at Casuarina Coastal Reserve. The ranger said when we went to bed that night those tiny turtles would still be swimming out to sea. He said that if all went well in about twenty years those turtles would return to the very same beach to lay their eggs. This year could be that year.

Twenty years ago the beach where the turtles nested was fringed by tall Casuarinas. Those trees are gone now, victims of arson events. That part of Casuarina Coastal Reserve now has very little plant diversity and not much in the way of habitats for small mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. As a landcare volunteer I’ve helped restore native vegetation at a few sites in the Reserve, but I realised that landcare alone isn’t enough to protect the natural values of the place. I wondered if other people thought the Reserve was under threat.

In March 2022 six Darwin locals met to consider the state of Casuarina Coastal Reserve. The consensus was that it’s a special place but it’s on a trajectory downwards. I agreed to organise a meeting to find out if other people agreed and wanted to do something about it.

In May thirty-five people came together at Dripstone Picnic. The group included runners, birdwatchers, cyclists, picnickers, beach walkers, dog walkers, academics, botanists, landcarers and many more who know and love the Reserve. They shared what they value about the Reserve, what they believed the threats to be, their vision for the place and what actions should be taken to look after it. Many of those present were worried about the Reserve’s future.

Soon after that meeting a group of twelve began to meet regularly. They decided it was important to become a legal entity and in September the Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve was incorporated (FCCR). FCCR now has a committee of seven, has held a planning day, is building a social media presence, has met with government policy makers and written to NT Ministers about the Reserve’s management and its future.

FCCR is dedicated to recognising, protecting, enhancing and caring for the natural values of Casuarina Coastal Reserve. It is already taking action to change the future for this special and well-loved part of the Top End.

Deb Hall