“It appears that Blue Lake has been an important climate ‘refuge’ for the freshwater biota of the region, and is in the same condition now as it was 7500 years ago. With appropriate management, the lake could continue relatively unchanged for hundreds, possibly thousands of years to come,” Dr Barr says.Project leader and co-author Dr John Tibby, also from the University of Adelaide, says the results of this research could affect decision making about utilising the freshwater aquifer of North Stradbroke Island as a source of fresh water for the mainland.
“Our study suggests that increased extraction of ground water represents one of the few obvious threats to the stability of Blue Lake. The threat this could pose to the lake’s status as a stable freshwater refuge needs serious consideration if the regional aquifer of North Stradbroke Island is to be contemplated,” Dr Tibby says.
Why is this location important?
Like other important sand mass systems in south-east Queensland, North Stradbroke Island contains significant groundwater resources which are accessed by local communities and mining companies. In addition, a significant volume of groundwater is exported to the mainland. While there is the potential for expanded groundwater use, so little is known about groundwater-dependent water bodies and ecosystems that expansion is suspended. Dependent ecosystems include freshwater and estuarine wetlands, mangrove and paperbark communities, and surface-water fauna. There is evidence that vegetation communities have been changing response to changing groundwater conditions. Several species are listed nationally as endangered and a number are endemic to the island.
Research, presented to the Australian Historical Association’s Conflict in History conference July 2015 at the University of Queensland, estimated 66,680 Queensland deaths between 1788 and 1930. Of those deaths, 65,180 were indigenous, which is about three times what was previously thought.
The report’s co-author, historian Professor Raymond Evans, said the calculations were based on official records, anecdotal reports and the number of patrols undertaken by the colonial Queensland government’s Native Police. Professor Evans said the estimated death toll was at least on a par with Australian casualties during World War I.
The Indigenous population of the Australian continent at the time of European settlement is estimated at more than 700,000. That number began declining rapidly from 1789 due to smallpox epidemic, reaching its nadir of 93,000 people in 1900. In 2018, projections show the Indigenous population will return to its pre-contact level in 2021. https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/smallpox-epidemic