Gladstone's secret weapon that could unlock tourism boom
THEY may be only little birds but the Yellow Chats of Curtis Island represent far more with their uplifting story.
Bordering on the edge of extinction on the island, the delightful little birds have made a comeback thanks largely to a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services program.
The departments have had several sweeps across the island to rid it of feral pigs and wild dogs.
While you wouldn't think pigs and dogs would have an adverse effect on a quick little bird (they wouldn't be able to catch them), their impact on the fauna is what had made it tough for the Chats.
Not only has it been a win for the birds, it has been a win for Gladstone and its move towards environmentally based tourism.
Most outsiders wouldn't associate Gladstone as a haven for a beautiful little bird. Most see Gladstone as an industrial city with no natural beauty.
Curtis Island is still a beauty, is still attracting tourists and there are plenty more sites like it around the region.
The fact we can turn around the fortunes of a precious piece of our wildlife also suggests we have enough environmental conscience to start marketing this area as destination for environmental tourism.
With this in mind, the Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited launched its impressive Southern Great Barrier Reef campaign last week.
With this sort of organisation, the groundwork done by the environmental groups and some buy-in from residents, the region as a must-see destinations isn't a pipe dream.
It's good for the environment and the economy and great for Gladstone.