Nurtured with faith, a precious and rare flower blooms

From a seed a forest grows … Chris Wates with a mature Grevillea caleyi in the Baha'i temple's grounds.
Photo: Bob Pearce

FOR most religions burning is associated with hell and damnation, but for those of the Baha'i faith fire may be a crucial part of fulfilling their duty to one of Sydney's most endangered plant communities.

The Baha'i National Centre is at Ingleside on a 16-hectare site beside Mona Vale Road, on a ridge above the northern beaches. Formal garden beds were built around the temple and planted with exotics.

But there are also precious remnants of Duffys Forest. Seedlings of a critically rare plant, Grevillea caleyi, associated with the Duffys Forest ecological community, have sprouted in the Baha'i gardens, forcing the State Government to intervene.

{josquote}An exception will be the area immediately beside the house of worship - known as the zone of tranquillity - where the garden beds may stay as they are.{/josquote}

The grevillea occurs only in a few suburbs on the North Shore, centring on Terrey Hills. The Department of Environment and Conservation says there may once have been about 1450 hectares of Duffys Forest. Today fewer than 240 hectares remain, mostly in the Warringah and Ku-ring-gai local government areas.

A mere two hectares of Duffys Forest survives on land owned by the Baha'is but it is so precious the State Government is about to negotiate a management plan to protect it.

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