A labour of love, the Bribie Island Butterfly House was established after a 10-year journey and has since become a popular tourist destination and favourite hang-out for locals. Numbering around a thousand, the butterflies that call this sanctuary home are protected and bred to bring vitality back to the many species that help pollinate wildflowers and crops, attract birds and beneficial insects.
Dedicated to increasing the butterfly population on Bribie Island, the Butterfly House is a not-for-profit community of passionate volunteers, sharing their knowledge and experience on butterfly-attracting plants, how to care for butterflies and the benefits of other small garden insects.
Knowing that kids and adults alike are often enamoured by the colourful, winged beauties, the Bribie Island Butterfly House is open to visitors local and tourist alike. With a guided tour of the facility by the volunteers, you can step into the butterfly haven and interact with them in their natural environment, even getting to see the breeding lab! Straight out of some picture book, the Bribie Island Butterfly House is always in bloom and surrounded by fluttering butterflies year-round. If you’re lucky enough, a butterfly may even land on you to create that picture-perfect moment.
Never intending to move to Bribie, the story or Ray and Delphine’s involvement with the Bribie Island Butterfly House starts in the Lockyer Valley, after the sale of their herbal tonic business, Olive Products Australia, in 2007. Planning on living a peaceful life on their three-acre property, Ray had soon developed a garden that brought butterflies to their home. Before long, Ray had developed a keen interest in the small, flighty insects and began to breed them.
First starting with a volunteer-run, not-for-profit Butterfly Plants for Poverty, Ray and Delphine propagated and sold butterfly-attracting plants, with the money raised supporting poverty-stricken people and families so they could have better access to health, education and employment. From 2010 until 2012, Butterfly Plants for Poverty sent over $30,000 to desperately needy people overseas. However, due to operating in a rural and isolated location, it was not possible to continue attracting enough volunteers. This is when Ray and Delphine decided to move to Bribie Island.
At their residential property in Banksia Beach on Bribie Island, Ray began a small volunteer-operated community with hydroponic vegetable growing and a butterfly-plant nursery. Named the Butterfly House, a small group of volunteers would come to learn, contribute and encourage visitors to relax in the beautiful gardens. The volunteers propagated and gave away over 6,000 butterfly-attracting plants on and around Bribie. They thought that maybe one day Bribie Island might have a second name, Butterfly Island. A few years after moving to Bribie Island, the Moreton Bay Regional Council allocated a block of land behind the Orchid House on First Avenue as the site for a newer, bigger and better Bribie Island Butterfly House. In 2016, the Bribie Butterfly Volunteers Inc. was formed before construction began on the property. The whole project was funded by donations from Bribie and regional residents and businesses consisting of labour, building materials, skilled trade labour and dollars.
The new Bribie Island Butterfly House is not the biggest Butterfly House in the world, but it may well be the most unusual, as stated by the many thousands of visitors who come each year. The project is entirely run by volunteers and donates thousands of dollars every month to charities. The complex includes a 24m x 10m x 4m tunnel house covered in green shade cloth, a darkened entry tunnel, wheelchair access throughout, a breeding laboratory with 10 metres of glass viewing windows, and more!
Everyone has surely heard the term ‘butterfly effect’ – meaning that when a butterfly flaps its wings, the effect is felt everywhere around the world, bringing about changes no matter how small. This is the phrase that Ray, Delphine and the volunteers live by, believing that butterflies have a positive effect on our environment. Knowing that the diversity and abundance of butterflies have declined in recent times due to loss of butterfly habitat, in particular, the loss of the caterpillars' food plants, their ‘Bring Back the Butterflies’ campaign is a local effort to help people bring large numbers of butterflies back into the landscape. Visitors and volunteers are welcomed to this wonderful establishment. Learn more and do your part here.
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