Queensland pushing dark sky horizons... by Dr Ken Wishaw
Andrew Wallace MP, state member for Glasshouse is sponsoring a Queensland Government e-petition, to change the street lights in and around Maleny, the last dark sky area in coastal South East Queensland.
The petition has the backing of numerous locals, and 60 sports and recreation clubs in the district. Maleny has a high proportion of unshielded blue-rich mercury vapour street lights, ultimately owned by the QLD state government.
With the Minimata Convention on Mercury enacted in March 2022 by the Australian Government, replacement mercury vapour bulbs are no longer permitted to be purchased. It was therefore felt by many that this was the perfect time to retire the unshielded light fittings, not just the bulbs, and replace them with dark sky compliant streetlights.
It is estimated there could be up to 900,000 Mercury vapour bulbs used in streetlights around Australia. It is hoped this petition will raise attention to a statewide and nationwide problem.
The petition is open to all Queenslanders ONLY - over 800 people signed.
Unshielded streetlights and the spectral output of their mercury vapour globes.
Looking for the darkest skies in South East Queensland? You would be hard-pressed to find anywhere darker than the Bunya Mountains.
Three and a half hours drive northwest of Brisbane, the Bunya Mountains is a small isolated outcropping of the Great Dividing Range. Its highest point is just over 1,000 metres in altitude. There are no large towns within 40 km and no street lights on the mountain. Next to Mt Mowbullan, the village has over 100 places available for holiday rental, ranging from tiny chalets to expansive houses.
More and more of them are certified through the International Dark-Sky Association
Fishers’ lookout is the standout venue for dark sky viewing though in many places it is as close as the verandah.
Wildlife, particularly birdlife and wallabies abound, and there are several beautiful short bushwalks to experience during the day.
The main limitation is fog and mist if humidity is high and the wind is from the east. So late winter during westerly winds is the best combination.