From Scrub to Park with Rotary

Of the many things that Rotary have done in the community on record, the pivotal role the Maleny Rotary Club played in converting 100 acres of scrub into this magnificent rainforest retreat, widely known as Mary Cairncross Park (to become commonly known later as Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve) cannot be ignored.  

Uncovering the transformation of a ‘patch of scrub’, as Rotary’s first Presiden, Norm Tesch described it, to the magnificent icon it became, inspired local writer Jack Wilcox to write of the largely unrecognised, incredible contribution Rotarians and their families made to the establishment and subsequent development of Mary Cairncross Park. Since the 1930’s, the work spanned decades. Jack’s estimation is that it involved somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 thousand hours of dedicated labour.
In October 1959, after the Club had discussions with Landsborough Shire Council and in consultation with Elizabeth Thynne, it was agreed that the new Rotary Club of Maleny would create and maintain the Reserve and Sanctuary as the Club’s first major project. Without Rotary, this Reserve wouldn’t have happened and we have been involved with the Reserve in various capacities since then.

The Charter President, Norm Tesch, wished to have the Reserve open in October 1960. Thousands of hours of volunteer work over the next two decades by Rotary members, wives, their children and friends turned the 100 acres of Natural Scrub into an enduring tourist attraction. .

Almost every weekend, most of the members worked to clear dead trees and lantana, clear and establish walking tracks from the original snigging tracks, dig toilets, remove rubbish (no wheelie bins in those days) identify and name trees, erect shelter sheds, water tanks and toilet blocks, tables and fireplaces and mow the grass. Imagine 12 Rotarians with old Victas in a line mowing grass in summer every weekend. 

1989 Rotary funded and constructed a children’s playground and Apex built the fence along the side of the park track and in 2002  donated 5 hardwood seats and today maintain representation on the management committee of the Reserve.