UP FOR SALE: Terry Reeves, from Harcourts, with the sandstone wall which is a magnificent feature of Lloyd Bird’s garden.
UP FOR SALE: Terry Reeves, from Harcourts, with the sandstone wall which is a magnificent feature of Lloyd Bird’s garden. Inga Williams

Precious rainforest haven looking for appreciative owner

RESPECTED botanist Lloyd Bird left behind a huge legacy for the city when he died in 2009 with his research, discoveries of rare plants in the region and his work to preserve the environment.

The great passion in his life's work can be seen in his backyard, which was revealed recently when his Bundamba home went on the market. Mr Bird created a rainforest environment in the middle of suburbia, working with his neighbours to create a tranquil setting among the 1950s homes.

As a former coalminer, the backyard was an outlet away from working underground.

One of the great mysteries he left behind is a sandstone wall he assembled as the main stairs into the gardens. The sandstone blocks appear to be hand carved and aged with moss and would date back to the city's pioneering days.

His daughter Leanne Skeggs said the sandstone blocks were sourced from Blackstone, possibly from Lewis Thomas's mansion Brynhyfryd, which was demolished in the 1930s and the contents and building materials auctioned.

"I know Dad got them out at Blackstone," Mrs Skeggs said.

"It was a big coup to get them.

"He used to say about them being from back in the convict days. I knew they were special."

When Mr Bird bought the land the site was an old brickworks.

They say every man's home is his castle and the natural rainforest in the backyard was a lifelong project for Mr Bird with a stone-based drainage channel, small foot bridges and paths making the most of the peaceful outlook.

"He was a coalminer underground so it was something to get away from being underground all the time so that was his passion and he ended up being a self-taught botanist. He didn't need all the degrees, he knew more than all the people who had them," Mrs Skeggs said.

"Everything in the backyard was brought in from every rock to every bit of leaf mould, to every tree. We used to always be out in the bush. Everywhere around Ipswich and Boonah way.

"We had to get the right tree, leaf-mould and the right rocks that had moss on. They had to be the right ones; they couldn't just be any old rocks.

"It is amazing sitting back (in the backyard) looking back up towards the house. It is all quiet. Hopefully it will be snapped up by someone who will appreciate it.

"There are a lot of good memories from childhood running around playing army and cowboys and Indians down there. It will be sad to let it go."



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