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Mount Zero-Taravale is located 80 kilometres north-west of Townsville, straddling the Wet Tropics Bioregion and the Einasleigh Uplands Bioregion. The location of the property, the complex topography and a steep rainfall gradient mean that it protects a rich array of habitats and supports a remarkable diversity of wildlife. The sanctuary spans an extraordinary spectrum of rock composition and resulting soils, and includes entire catchments of the major tributaries of two rivers. The scenery is spectacular, thanks to the striking variation in landforms – the property encompasses some major changes in geology. The northeast corner is the highest part of the property, with an elevation of around 1000m and a rainfall of 1300mm. This section includes over 60 peaks and is characterised by deep gorges. In the east is the broad alluvial valley of the Star River, cradled between the Coane and Seaview Ranges. The centre of the sanctuary is characterised by hills of granite and broken rocky pavements, providing sheltered terrain for wildlife and a barrier to wildfire, helping to maintain a tight mosaic of habitats with different fire histories. Down in the southwest of the property, the elevation is only 350m with an average rainfall of about 600mm. The sanctuary stretches over an essentially unbroken continuum of native vegetation, supported by a spectrum of rock composition and resulting soils. 73 distinct ecosystems have been mapped on the property, ranging from rainforest and tall wet sclerophyll forests through open eucalypt woodlands, to heath and shrub lands and even spinifex country in the western corner. Over 700 plant species occur on the property, many of which are threatened and some of which are found only on Mount Zero-Taravale. In the wetter, elevated terrain are towering forests of Rose Gum, Red Stringybark and Turpentine, with pockets of rainforest in the sheltered gullies. Hoop Pines grow from fissures in the rock on ridgelines and cliff walls, protected from fire. In the river valleys are Forest Red Gums and Allocasuarinas, with Bloodwood, White Mahogany and Moreton Bay Ash on the rises. Well drained slopes support woodlands of the deciduous Poplar Gum mixed with Melaleucas, and at the foot of the valley walls in deeper soil, are grassy hills studded with Lemon-Scented Gum.


Mount Zero-Taravale is a hotspot for threatened species, and provides habitat for over 400 species of native vertebrates (not including fish). The incredible diversity of species gives the property international conservation significance. The sanctuary is home to over half the population of Sharman’s Rock Wallaby, along with other threatened species like the Glossy Black Cockatoo, Masked Owl, Red Goshawk and the Green Ringtail Possum. It has one of the highest densities of Greater Gliders in Queensland, as well as other arboreal mammals such as Squirrel Gliders, Sugar Gliders and Feathertail Gliders. There are a range of macropods such as kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons and bettongs, and over 200 bird species including everything from birds of paradise to finches.


Fire management is a primary focus of the field programs at Mount Zero-Taravale. It is relatively complex due to the range of ecosystems with different fire requirements and responses. Prior to acquisition by AWC, there was little prescribed burning on the property – late season wildfires burnt large parts of the sanctuary, while heavily grazed areas were rarely burnt, facilitating invasion by lantana. A combination of aerial incendiary operations and ground-based burning is being used to restore a mosaic of burnt and unburnt vegetation and control weeds, as well as to protect fire-sensitive rainforest. Lack of regular burning in wet sclerophyll forests on the margins of rainforest led to invasion of dense rainforest plants and loss of the grassy understorey, which is crucial habitat for specialised fauna such as the Northern Bettong. These habitats are now being restored and maintained through a program of frequent low intensity fires every 2 to 3 years. The wet sclerophyll forests are a key focus of AWC’s research on the property, and where a rainforest understorey has replaced the fire-carrying grass (making fire management not feasible), mechanical thinning of the understorey is being trialled as an alternative restoration approach. AWC’s weed management strategy at Mount Zero-Taravale is focused on species which have a significant environmental impact. In particular lantana, gamba grass, thatch grass and grader grass are treated with a combination of herbicides and carefully controlled burning. There are no significant populations of feral herbivores on Mount Zero-Taravale, but feral horses and cattle are maintained at very low densities by shooting and mustering, and boundary fencing reduces incursions from neighbouring stock. Feral pig numbers are controlled through shooting and trapping. Spotlighting and camera trap surveys suggest that densities of feral cats are low on the property. Nevertheless, feral cats represent a major threat to wildlife populations, particularly in more open areas where groundcover has been lost due to grazing and fire. As well as mitigating these indirect threats, cats are controlled directly through opportunistic shooting. Extensive biological survey activity informs much of the land management strategies at Mount Zero-Taravale. Each year our science team measures a suite of ecological health indicators such as the abundance of smallmedium sized mammals and diurnal lizards. The survey effort involves thousands of live trap nights each year, aerial surveys, camera trapping, vegetation surveys and analysis of satellite imagery.


Tim Allen, Puzzle Creek (hovering) 2020, oil on linen, 136 x 183 cm, $12,000


Tim Allen, Languid, 2020, acrylic, watercolour, ink, pastel and charcoal on paper, 72 x 110 cm $3,900


Tim Allen, Return Creek Gorge I, 2019, watercolour, ink, pastel and charcoal on paper, 42 x 53 cm, (left) $1,300 Tim Allen, Return Creek Gorge III, 2019, watercolour, ink, pastel and charcoal on paper, 53 x 42 cm, (right) $1,300


Tim Allen, Hellhole Creek I, 2019, Watercolour, ink, pastel and charcoal on paper, 53 x 42 cm (left) $1,300 Tim Allen, Puzzle Creek I, 2019, Watercolour, ink, pastel and charcoal on paper, 53 x 42 cm (centre) $1,300 Tim Allen, Puzzle Creek II, 2019, Watercolour, ink, pastel and charcoal on paper, 42 x 53 cm (right) $1,300


Tim Allen, Puzzle Creek (light that blinds), 2020, oil on linen, 122 x 122 cm, $8,500


Tim Allen, Puzzle Creek (shimmer), 2020, oil on linen, 122 x 122 cm, $8,500 Tim Allen, Puzzle Creek (temptation), 2020, oil on linen, 122 x 122 cm, $8,500


Tim Allen, Return Creek Gorge (clamber), 2020, oil on canvas, 92 x 92 cm, $5,000 (left) Tim Allen, Return Creek Gorge (shallows), 2020, oil on canvas, 92 x 92 cm, $5,000 (right)


Tim Allen, Tributary, 2020, acrylic, watercolour, ink, pastel and charcoal on paper, 110 x 140 cm, $6,500


David Collins, Cycadic Rhythm, 2020, oil on canvas, 107 x 124 cm, $8,500


David Collins, Fire and Regrowth 1, 2019, gouache and charcoal on paper, 38 x 57 cm (left) $1,400 David Collins, Fire and Regrowth 2, 2019, gouache and charcoal on paper, 38 x 52 cm (right) $1,400


David Collins, Scent of Cycad, 2020, oil on canvas, 104 x 155 cm, $8,500


David Collins, Pre History, 2020, oil on board, 60 x 117 cm, $5,000


David Collins, Around the camp, 2019, gouache on paper, 38 x 45 cm (top left) $1,400 David Collins, Study for Casuarina Light 1, 2019, gouache and charcoal on paper, 39 x 58 cm (top right) $1,400 David Collins, Study for Casuarina Light 2, 2019, gouache and pastel on paper, 39 x 58 cm (bottom left) $1,400 David Collins, Study for Cycadic Rhythm, 2019, gouache and pastel on paper, 38 x 51 cm (bottom right) $1,400


David Collins, Cycle, 2019-2020, oil on canvas, 102 x 120 cm, $8,000


David Collins, Cycad Walk, 2019, oil on canvas, 92 x 92 cm, $5,000


David Collins, Cycad Gully, 2020, oil on canvas, 118 x 100 cm (left) $8,000 David Collins, Cycad River, 2020, oil on canvas, 122 x 93 cm (right) $8,000


David Collins, Casuarina Light, 2020, oil on canvas, 38 x 110 cm, $4,000


David Collins, Study for Pre History, 2019, gouache, charcoal and pastel on paper, 38 x 57 cm (left) $1,400 David Collins, Mother Cycad, 2019, charcoal and pastel on paper, 38 x 57 cm (right) $1,400


Alison Coates, Taravale Cycad, 2020, burnt cycad stalks from Mount Zero, spinifex, resin, tar, acrylic paint, wire, timber base, 200 x 40 x 50 cm, $8,000


Alison Coates, Forest Remnants I, 2020, string, wire and perspex, 57 x 37 x 40 cm, $1,900 Alison Coates, Forest Remnants II, 2020, string, wire and perspex, 53 x 45 x 47 cm, $2,400 Alison Coates, Forest Remnants III, 2020, string, wire and perspex, 46 x 30 x 22 cm, $1,900 Alison Coates, Forest Remnants IV, 2020, string, wire and perspex, 48 x 36 x 26 cm, $1,900 Alison Coates, Forest Remnants V, 2020, string, wire and perspex, 43 x 43 x 35 cm, $1,900 (clockwise from top left)


Alison Coates, Litter Fall I, 2020, woven wire and string, 40 x 50 x 12 cm, $1,900 Alison Coates, Litter Fall II, 2020, woven wire and string, 40 x 50 x 10 cm, $1,900 Alison Coates, Litter Fall III, 2020, woven wire and string, 30 x 55 x 27 cm, $1,900 Alison Coates, Litter Fall IV, 2020, woven wire and string, 65 x 50 x 20 cm, $2,400 Alison Coates, Litter Fall V, 2020, woven wire and string, 60 x 50 x 20 cm, $2,400 Alison Coates, Litter Fall VI, 2020, woven wire and string, 90 x 53 x 12 cm, $2,800 (clockwise from top left)


Alison Coates, Overstory, 2020, wire, string, copper ribbon and paint, 180 x 280 x 50 cm, $11,000


Alison Coates, Bark Peel I, 2020, salvaged tin, wire and plywood, 75 x 55 x 2cm (left) $4,000 Alison Coates, Bark Peel II, 2020, salvaged tin, wire and plywood, 75 x 55 x 2 cm (right) $4,000


Alison Coates, Firelines, 2020, iron, paint and timber, 183 x 86 x 6 cm, $5,000


Alison Coates, Eucalypt, 2020, galvanised steel, 121 x 85 cm, $4,000


Alison Coates, Pupa I, 2020, wire, string, linen cord, rubber thonging, acrylic & oil paint, 150 x 70 x 50 cm (left) $5,500 Alison Coates, Pupa II, 2020, wire, string, linen cord, rubber thonging, acrylic & oil paint, 150 x 70 x 50 cm (right) $5,500


Mary Tonkin, Dawn citriodora, Mt Zero Taravale, 2019, oil on linen, 41 x 43 cm, $6,000


Mary Tonkin, Morning citriodora, Mt Zero Taravale, 2019, oil on linen, 41 x 43 cm, $6,000


Mary Tonkin, Evening citriodora, Mt Zero Taravale, 2019, oil on linen, 41 x 43 cm, $6,000


Mary Tonkin, First light, Mt Zero Taravale, 2019, pencil on paper, 25 x 28.5 cm, $1000


Mary Tonkin, Last light, Mt Zero Taravale, 2019, pencil on paper, 25.5 x 28.5 cm, $1000


Mary Tonkin, Gully Edge, Mt Zero Taravale, 2019, pencil on paper, 25.5 x 57 cm, $1,750


Mary Tonkin, Tumult, Kalorama, 2020, oil on linen, 183 x 214 cm, $60,000


Mary Tonkin, Firecrackers, Mt Zero Taravale, 2019, oil on linen, 41 x 43 cm, $6,000


Peter Stevens, Gorge Falling Water 2, 2020, oil on board, 120 x 110 cm, $9,400


Peter Stevens, Return Gorge Bee Eaters, 2020, oil on board, 120 x 110 cm, $9,400


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 1, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (left) $3,950 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 2, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (right) $3,950


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 3, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (left) $3,950 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 4, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (right) $3,950


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 5, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (left) $3,950 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 6, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (right) $3,950


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 7, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (left) $3,950 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 8, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (right) $3,950


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 9, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (left) $3,950 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 10, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm(right) $3,950


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 11, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (left) $3,950 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 12, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (right) $3,950


Peter Stevens, Bee Eater I, 2020, oil on board, 82 x 36 cm (left) $3,500 Peter Stevens, Bee Eater II, 2020, 82 x 36 cm (right) $3,500


Peter Stevens, Gorge 1, 2020, oil on board, 41 x 36 cm (top left) $2,500 Peter Stevens, Gorge 2, 2020, oil on board, 41 x 36 cm (top right) $2,500 Peter Stevens, Gorge 3, 2020, oil on board, 41 x 36 cm (bottom left) $2,500 Peter Stevens, Gorge 4, 2020, oil on board, 41 x 36 cm (bottom right) $2,500


Peter Stevens, Gorge 5, 2020, oil on board, 41 x 36 cm (left) $2,500 Peter Stevens, Gorge 6, 2020, oil on board, 41 x 36 cm (centre) $2,500 Peter Stevens, Gorge 7, 2020, oil on board, 41 x 36 cm (right) $2,500


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 13, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (left) $3,950 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 14, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (right) $3,950


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 15, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (left) $3,950 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 16, 2020, oil on board, 66 x 61 cm (right) $3,950


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 1, Star River Valley, 2020, 66 x 61 cm, $3,950


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Cascade 1, 2020, oil on board, 88 x 82 cm (left) $6,200 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Cascade 2, 2020, oil on board, 88 x 82 cm (right) $6,200


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 17, 2020, oil on board, 88 x 82 cm (left) $6,200 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 18, 2020, oil on board, 88 x 82 cm (right) $6,200


Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 19, 2020, oil on board, 88 x 62 cm (left) $6,200 Peter Stevens, Mount Zero Falling Water 20, 2020, oil on board, 88 x 82 cm (right) $6,200


Thank you to the following people for their continued and generous support and great efforts to contribute to the success of this project Tim Allen Alison Coates David Collins Peter Stevens Mary Tonkin Bill and Lea Ferris and the Ferris Family Foundation The team at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, especially the scientists and executive team The Great Observers film crew, Ben Ferris, Kathryn Milliss and Luke Stacey Stuart Purves, Australian Galleries Lauren, Campbell and Kaya, Defiance Gallery John McDonald Tim Flannery Richard Morecroft Contributors Artwork photographed by Stephen Oxenbury Mary Tonkin’s artwork photographed by Matthew Stanton Images of artists onsite at Mount Zero courtesy of Ben Ferris, stills from the film The Great Observers

Profile for Defiance Gallery

The AWC Mount Zero exhibition  

Tim Allen, Alison Coates, David Collins courtesy of Defiance Gallery Mary Tonkin and Peter Stevens courtesy of Australian Gallery

The AWC Mount Zero exhibition  

Tim Allen, Alison Coates, David Collins courtesy of Defiance Gallery Mary Tonkin and Peter Stevens courtesy of Australian Gallery