Continue your journey along the Hinchinbrook Way Historical Walk, follow the links at the bottom of the page for more nearby locations or keep an eye out for QR codes!

Before European Settlement extensive native grasslands with paperbark woodland and pockets of rainforest covered the wet tropical flood plains of the Herbert River Delta. Unfortunately almost all of these native grasslands have now been cleared to make way for canefields and development. Although TYTO Wetlands was never cleared, it was a degraded wetland destined to become a canefield or wasteland. Located in a semi industrial area this public land was being invaded by introduced pasture grasses and other weeds from the local refuse tip.

In 1996, Hinchinbrook Council engaged renowned local wildlife specialist, John Young to conduct a wildlife study of the TYTO Wetlands area. Results from the study indicated that  had a healthy bird population including nine pairs of Eastern Grass Owls (tyto longimembris) – hence the new name of TYTO Wetlands. The bird audit found 114 different bird species throughout the year.

In August 1997, with the support of the Hinchinbrook Council, State government agencies, local industry, community members and funding from the Natural Heritage Trust and the Hinchinbrook Shire Council, the “TYTO Restoration Project” was launched. It aimed to restore and conserve the natural values of this once degraded wetlands.

In June 2007, the TYTO Information and Wetlands Centre (now named Hinchinbrook Visitor Information Centre) was officially opened to the public. This accredited visitor information centre houses innovative displays showcasing the spectacular natural values of nearby Tyto Wetlands and the general Hinchinbrook Shire region.The design of the wetlands and displays in the centre have had extensive involvement and support from John Young, a world renowned and respected cinematographer and wildlife expert. Many of the photos used in the centre have come from John’s private collection. TYTO Wetlands and Hinchinbrook Visitor Information Centre were the first two stages of the TYTO Precinct. 

Today the number of bird species found in the wetlands has in increased to 245 which is over a quarter of Australia’s bird species and home to Agile Wallabies.