Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Visitors Flock to King of the Birds' Lavish Haven; Passion for Nature Drives Creation of Bird Park

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Visitors Flock to King of the Birds' Lavish Haven; Passion for Nature Drives Creation of Bird Park

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark furler

FRANK Shipp, the Sunshine Coast's king of the birds, admits he is a bit of a "compulsive obsessive".

Why else would someone amass almost 500 birds, spend years building gardens, and even bring a fishing boat to his Maleny property?

Some would call him a little crazy, but there's no doubting his passion for nature. And anyone who has ventured into Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World know he's a man who likes to create something special, regardless of how long it takes.

Mr Shipp's passion for nature started as a young boy in South Africa when he bought his first plant.

After life as a successful businessman, Mr Shipp moved his family to Australia in 2003, buying what was a rough cattle property at Maleny in 2005. His dream was to create a big garden on the 44ha hinterland haven.

That work started in 2007. He spent two years terracing the slopes, creating waterfalls, lakes, doing mass plantings, creating access to rainforest areas and building gazebos to enjoy the stunning views of the Glass House Mountains.

Four years later, he showcased the gardens in the Australian Open Garden Schemes before opening the gardens to the public seven days a week in July 2012.

But it's been the creation of the bird aviary, which opened in late 2013, that has drawn visitors from around the world.

The aviary is home to tiny finches, Australian cockatoos and lorikeets, exotic parrots and the macaws. But Mr Shipp is far from done.

"I'm putting in a sunken garden in conjunction with the aviary," he said.

"I'm hoping to put in a butterfly house one day, a glow worm cave would be good. There are many things happening. It will never be completed in my lifetime."

Mr Shipp says the chance for visitors to interact with large birds, including the beautiful macaws is what is generating plenty of wow factor.

"Based on the feedback I'm getting from international tourists, nobody has ever done that before, not to this extent," he said.

He has birds from 63 different countries.

"There's always some bird coming in,'' he said of the refuge.

"They actually do very well with each other. …

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