Mary Cairncross xylophone creates summer frog symphony

An ingenious new xylophone that utilises the sounds of the various frogs found at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, allowing visitors to play their own “summer frog symphony” has been opened at the reserve’s Discovery Centre.

When played like an everyday xylophone – or Gaya-Phone in honour of the traditional local Jinibara word for frog – it emits the sounds made by sixteen local frog species.

The Gaya-Phone has two key settings, utilising the sounds of eight of the frogs as they are resting and then the other eight as they sing. There is a third setting that utilises the sounds of the Tusked frog, which has been changed to different tones, so users can actually play it like a musical instrument.

The display includes photos of the frogs as well as phonetic spellings of the sounds they make – for example, the “pluck pluck pluck” of the tusked frog, “kraaaaaawk” of the Orange-eyed tree frog, the “tuk tuk tuk” of the Striped marsh frog and more.

The display complements an existing bird wall in the main Discovery Centre hall, which allows visitors to press different buttons to hear the calls of native birds at the reserve.

Another new attraction at the centre is two new telescopes, so visitors can get a closer look at the Glass House Mountains.

Both the telescopes and the Gaya-Phone were funded by the gold coin donations paid by visitors to the Discovery Centre.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve includes a wide array or attractions, from the tranquil and easy walks through the subtropical rainforest that is the centrepiece of the 55-hectare reserve, through to lovely picnic grounds – complete with barbecues, sheltered picnic tables, expansive lawn and play equipment for the children – and the new and modern Discovery Centre and café building.

The Discovery Centre includes numerous displays that provide an insight into the world that exists among the thick foliage and towering trees. It features a number of displays, interactive learning activities, and multi-media presentations that all help to reveal more of this wonderful natural attraction.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve provides a understanding of the rainforest that once covered the entire area, and provides an opportunity to take a relaxing wander among diverse birdlife and native animals, as well as a wide array of plant life, from the towering buttressed trees that stretch to the canopy, through the tiniest of mushrooms that feed on the rotting vegetation in the undergrowth below.

The reserve sits on the edge of Maleny’s southern escarpment, and provides a stunning uninterrupted view towards the Glasshouse Mountains on the plain below.

The picnic grounds and barbecues are free at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve; however, entry to the walking track is via the Discovery Centre, which charges the gold coin entry fee.

The Rainforest Walk is open 7.00am – 6.00pm. The Discovery Centre is open 9.00am – 4.30pm daily, but closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day and also closed on Anzac Day from 9am – 12noon.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is located at 148 Mountain View Rd, Maleny, Qld, 4552. Ph: (07) 5429 6122.

Article written and published for Dec/Jan Edition of Come on Up