History of the Bribie Island Butterfly House

Our history

2007 - 2009

Founders: Ray and Delphine Archer

We often visited Bribie and fell in love with the island lifestyle, dreaming that one day we’d retire there.

​In 2007, we sold our last business Olive Products Australia where we grew olive trees and made a herbal tonic from the leaves, called Olive Leaf Extract.

Our plan back then, was to stay local and enjoy a peaceful life in the Lockyer Valley. So we developed our three acre Peace Garden and Little Bird Heaven – the start of Ray’s encounter with butterflies!

We were successfully attracting hundreds of little sweet-singing birds to our garden and some butterflies also arrived. Butterflies are beautiful and very peaceful insects. They don’t yell at you or pee and poo on you. They don’t growl at you or bite you. They bring a lot of peace into your life.

Before long, Ray had developed a keen interest in breeding butterflies.  So he built his first butterfly house back in 2009 and he’s been crazy about butterflies ever since.


Catching the vision

​Mid 2010 Ray had a vision to start a volunteer run not-for-profit called Butterfly Plants for Poverty.

​In business, we had struggled and learnt, and learnt and struggled, and it paid off.  Well, what to do with the money?  We’d earned more than we needed for our own existence and we still needed only three meals a day.

We were already helping less fortunate people in Australia and then we found ways of also helping extremely poor and oppressed people in other countries.

The Butterfly Plants for Poverty Nursery propagated and sold butterfly-attracting plants and the money raised supported extremely poor people with small business loans and clean water so they could have better health and education and work themselves up out of poverty and gain self-worth. These were people who could only just afford one basic meal each day.

To our Butterfly Plants for Poverty volunteers:
“Please accept our sincere thanks once again for all you have done to help and encourage us with BP4P. Everything, large or small, that you have done has been a real blessing to us and more importantly, an enormous blessing to thousands of men, women and children who will continue to put poverty behind them over the ongoing years as the money you have helped generate is lent for small business micro-loans, paid back, and lent again.”

Butterfly Plants for Poverty

Opening celebrations 2010

​The highlight of our opening day was the Butterfly Release organised by Ross Kendall, then president of the Butterfly and Other Invertebrates Club (BOIC), and officiated by Haydn Sargent, long time friend of ours and well known media personality from a few years back in Brisbane.

And we mustn’t forget the four great kids who untied the magic ribbons and let loose 100 beautiful butterflies up into the skies to officially start the onward and upward progress of the Butterfly Plants for Poverty project.

Children were certainly enjoying themselves with the butterfly craft, the animal farm and jumping castle, not to mention climbing up to the rooftop deck, while mums and dads toured the exhibits, relaxed in the butterfly houses and meandered along the cool garden paths.  Parents and children alike were enthralled as butterflies flitted around them in the two butterfly houses.

Cameras clicked wildly if one happened to alight on a cap or a shoulder.  People are enthralled with butterflies.


The end of a chapter and our move to Bribie

​Butterfly Plants for Poverty ran very successfully and sent over $30,000 to desperately needy people overseas.

Due to our very isolated rural location it was not possible to continue to attract enough volunteers from our limited neighbourhood.

The extra workload that was required of the two of us, meant that we fell far behind in the management of our already existing work providing financial assistance to a broad range of humanitarian projects overseas and in Australia.

After much thoughtful discussion, we sadly decided to close and so ended that chapter of our lives. Soon after, we made the move to Bribie Island after forty years in the bush.  


Butterfly hobby continues on Bribie

Our business and personal interests have always been related to people’s physical, mental and spiritual health. So as a part of our retirement plan we bought a residential property at Banksia Beach on Bribie.

Here Ray began a small volunteer- operated community Butterfly House with hydroponic vegetable growing and butterfly-plant nursery along with a small Bible learning group that some of the locals enjoy.

​Volunteers love to come to learn, to contribute, to encourage each other, and to get some relaxation therapy in the butterfly house.

To learn more about Volunteering, please click here.

Ray’s dream is for Bribie Island’s second name to one day be Butterfly island.  To learn more about the benefits of butterflies, click here.

The NEW Bribie Island Butterfly House

Dreams can be contagious  and good news spreads, so in 2015 the Moreton Bay Regional Council designated a block of land behind the Orchid House on First Avenue as the site for a new, bigger and better Bribie Island Butterfly House.


​Bribie Butterfly Volunteers Inc. was formed and the new committee now meets monthly to plan the ongoing development of all that is required to operate a successful new Butterfly House.

Construction begins

Excitement was high on 22nd May 2016 as we drove to Grantham to dismantle the framework of an unused tunnel house and transport it back to the new job site on Bribie.

​The whole project is funded by very generous donations from Bribie and regional residents consisting of labour, building materials, skilled trade labour and dollars. We have also been the very grateful recipients of grants and club donations. See our honour roll for further information.

As a 100% volunteer group, all profits will go to charity work and we really appreciate opening the Butterfly House debt free.  Thanks again to all who have contributed and are still contributing dollars and time as the project operates from day to day.

The new Bribie Island Butterfly House is not the biggest Butterfly House in the world but it may well be the most unusual Butterfly House.  The complex includes  a 24m x 10m x 4m high 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!

Thank You,

Ray Archer

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