Originally all the land on the Atherton Tablelands was covered with rainforest. European Settlement began in the 1900’ and most of the rainforest has since been cleared. Thankfully, the land that the Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary now occupies was saved from the clearing out by it first owners, the Hogan brothers (i.e. the Hogan Road).
After their death, the land was purchased by local Dairy Farmers Pat and Val Sheehan in the mid 20th century. The Sheehan’s were doing very well and acquired the rainforest block simply because it bordered their farm. The Sheehan’s never found the need to use the land and our rainforest survived clearing for a second time!
Harry and Sandra Walker purchased the block in 1979 from Pat and Val Sheehan, who were subdividing their dairy farm. They owned all the land from the rainforest – on both sides of the river – up to the highway. Initially a small house was built at the end of the bitumen on Hogan’s Road and then the main house in the forest was finished in 1990.
The constructions of the treehouses began in July 1997 and were completed in April 2001, and the Bower House was completed in November 2002.
The current owners purchased the property from the Walkers’ in January 2005. They are reforesting the adjoining land where The Bower is situated and this will increase the habitat area by some 30 acres when complete.
The Canopy has raised a lot of interest from scientists since 1985. C.S.I.R.O. and various universities and students have used the rainforest for research since 1985. One of these studies by the C.S.I.R.O. has shown that this rainforest, has consistently over a 2-year period, produced 4 to 7 times the amount of fruit than other study sites in nearby rainforests.
This rich source of food along with the general deforestation in the area accounts for the phenomenally high density of wildlife in this rainforest.