Skip to content

A holiday with a difference

Published 03 Oct 2018 by Ann and Frank Ingwersen (volunteers)

Hard working volunteers, Ann and Frank Ingwersen share their observations and images from a recent 'round trip' to Edgbaston and Pullen Pullen Reserves in Western Queensland.

“Turn off the Aramac Rd at the sculpture” Shelley said. So, at the aeroplane sculpture we headed along the gravel road into Edgbaston Reserve. The country was flat, mostly open grassland with patches of trees and scrub and in the distance, a tree-covered ridge line.

Several kangaroos hopped unhurriedly in front of us, a couple of emus wandered in the distance and a bustard strutted along a side track.

Finally, we pulled up in front of our home for the next few weeks –the shearing shed, and there was the welcome party of three roos standing to attention.

We pitched our tent at the rear then checked out the facilities. One half of the shed was home for a tractor and ATV (all terain vehicle) buggy parked on gravel, while the other half, our living area, had varying floor surfaces. Planks, slats (through which all sorts of things fell, to remain lost forever), mesh (through which other objects fell) and concrete for the wet area.

A very well-equipped kitchen, gas stove, BBQ, fridge and freezer, made cooking easy. The ablutions were outside, three-sided en plein air, the toilet with a boom to indicate when it was a no-go area and the shower with a very welcome gas water heater.

Being open to the elements meant that we could entertain the local wildlife – emus picking and pecking, roos feeding and a family of quails scuttling past. But it also meant that when the chill winds blew, the water went everywhere except where we wanted.

Next morning, Shelley, the cheerful and dedicated manager of Edgbaston and Pullen Pullen reserves, gave us the induction and an orientation drive around the reserve before heading back to Longreach.

Along with the wildlife we mostly had the reserve to ourselves.

Pippa, Freshwater Ecologist, spent a couple of days working on the springs. She generously made time to introduce us to the Red-finned Blue-eyed fish hiding in the springs – an amazing sight as the springs are surrounded by a thick layer of glistening sodium carbonate crystals, resembling a snow fall. Al and DJ – who were researching buffel grass – kept us company for a few days. Lastly, hard-working Roger, the one-man fencing ‘team’, arrived to put up an exclusion fence.

Our work centred on weed eradication to improve the country for the survival of the endangered fish. Spraying and recording Parkinsonia and Prickly Acacia along one boundary took several days, followed by removal of old internal fencing and the checking and repairs of the fences along neighbouring boundaries.

An on-going trial of drilling mature Parkinsonia and Prickly Acacia was the next project. This required drilling near the base of the plants then plugging the hole with a fungicide pellet followed by a wooden pellet. As Ann is on the short side, nearer the ground, this was obviously her task. But Frank gallantly cleared access to the trunks by slashing the thorny, dead, lower branches with a rake-hoe, before recording the plant on a tablet.

During our free time we rode our mountain bikes to the up-lands, a totally different landscape, and to other areas where we hadn’t worked. A day at nearby Lake Dunn gave us another change of scenery and bird life.

We never tired of watching the stars at night and the brilliant clear skies change colour in the morning and evening.

Then to Pullen Pullen Reserve. Accommodation here was in a very comfortable donga on a nearby station. Again, full facilities and a well-equipped kitchen made life easy for us. As this is a very new reserve, fences have a high priority. Our tasks included checking and repairing fences to exclude cattle from neighbouring stations, making a stockpile of rolls of wire left by previous volunteer fence removers and clearing an old fence line ready for a new fence.

There are now some very unusual wire sculptures around the reserve, awaiting final removal. Intriguing large footprints in the dusty track turned out to be those of a camel. Over the next week, these prints appeared on different tracks, but we never did find the beast itself.

The highlight of each day was the variety and number of birds that crossed our path on the way to and from our work area.

Large flock of budgies, galahs, diamond doves, zebra finches, corellas, solitary black-faced woods-swallows, falcons and others were a regular distraction.

We watched in awe as a Brown Falcon swooped on a flock of budgies, caught one then sat in a tree above us, pulling out feathers, preparing for lunch.

Spending time on any of the Bush Heritage reserves is always a journey of discovery. Here we discovered among other things that there are billions more stars than we’d seen anywhere else in the world. “Hard work, no holiday” our friends say, but the rewards are great – not the least being the knowledge that we've contributed in a small way towards creating healthy landscapes for the survival of our unique flora and fauna.

Bustards at Edgbaston. Bustards at Edgbaston.
Roos formed part of our welcome party to Edgbaston. Roos formed part of our welcome party to Edgbaston.
We shared the property with many roos. We shared the property with many roos.
Some spectacular flowers were on display. Some spectacular flowers were on display.
A group of emu at Edgbaston Reserve. A group of emu at Edgbaston Reserve.
New wire sculptures at Pullen Pullen after fencing removal work. New wire sculptures at Pullen Pullen after fencing removal work.
A majestic Brown Falcon at Pullen Pullen. A majestic Brown Falcon at Pullen Pullen.
Brown Falcon lunching on a budgerigar plucked from flight. Brown Falcon lunching on a budgerigar plucked from flight.

Related stories

Jack and Marja on Pilungah Reserve, Wangkamadla Country, central Queensland.

20/05/2024 20/05/2024

Something for everyone

After three weeks of caretaking on Pilungah Reserve, Wangkamadla Country, central Queensland, Marja and Jack were well and truly isolated.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 11/01/2024

Bill Johnston's happy place

For dedicated Bush Heritage volunteer Bill Johnston, the sign at Eurardy Reserve is the gateway to his happy place.

Read More

BLOG 18/05/2023

Voices of change: unstoppable volunteers

In National Volunteer Week we hear from three unstoppable volunteers who shared their motivations and experience. From what initially drew them to conservation volunteering to what inspires their ongoing commitment. 

Read More

BLOG 01/06/2022

Bat monitoring in revegetation

An extensive revegetation project has been underway for the three years at Eurardy Reserve (mid-west WA). We want to know if bats are present in this new planting. Our volunteer assignment was primarily to set everything up to start recording bat activity over the coming months (and maybe years).

Read More

BLOG 11/05/2022

Better together with our volunteers

Reflecting on what makes for a valuable, useful, and enjoyable volunteering experience is especially relevant during National Volunteer Week. We recently took a deep dive into volunteering with Rex George and Gail Holt, two of our active and committed WA-based volunteers to discuss what Bushie volunteering means to them.

Read More

BLOG 02/03/2022

Volunteering highlights 2021

Despite numerous lockdowns and the fact we only advertised opportunities within each state (due to border restrictions), 2021 still saw 508 people volunteering 38,215 hours over 1,289 placements. 

Read More

BLOG 23/09/2021

My desert story

I was hesitant about going out to the desert to volunteer for Bush Heritage in January this year. It’s such a long way and it’s dusty and hot. But a trip to Craven’s Peak was available and I thought I should – don’t I always say, “if you haven’t tried something, don’t knock it?”

Read More

BLOG 06/09/2021

Caretaking at Hamelin Station

Hear from two of our WA volunteers about their recent caretaking experience on our Hamelin Station Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 01/07/2021

Red dirt and Wanda!

Being presented with a wire winder wouldn’t excite everyone but knowing that we were in for a week or two of fence removal at Naree Reserve, we thought it was pretty good!

Read More

BLOG 31/05/2021

Fence removal on Tarcutta

Volunteers Jim and Erica (Ricki) Nash recently embarked on their first volunteer experience at our Tarcutta Hills Reserve near Wagga Wagga, NSW to remove old fencing, supervised by long-standing Volunteer Team Leader Justin Kell.

Read More

BLOG 31/05/2021

Tarcutta Hills rabbit survey

Volunteers Tom O'Hara and Georgie McManus recently complete a rabbit survey on our Tarcutta Hills Reserve, including the recently purchased neighbouring block.

Read More

BLOG 14/01/2021

Red sand country – food for the soul

With words and brush, volunteer caretaker, Angela Woltmann paints a glorious picture of Christmas spent on Ethabuka Reserve with her husband Shane.

Read More

BLOG 07/01/2021

A Boolcoomatta bush Christmas

After settling in for a three week stay as caretakers, we couldn’t wait to get out in the field at Boolcoomatta Reserve to see what had changed since the welcome spring rains had arrived. 

Read More

BLOG 09/12/2020

Volunteer 2020 wrap Up

When the Volunteer Advisory Committee met in February to plan the year ahead, we never envisaged the opportunities 2020 would create for connecting the volunteer community.  This year volunteers had the unexpected (but rewarding) experience of webinars presented by volunteer speakers.

Read More

BLOG 01/12/2020

A new boundary at Hamelin

Annie and Ian Mayo have been spending the last couple of months removing fences around reserves in WA. On the weekend they reached a huge milestone by reaching 100km of fenceline removed!

Read More

BLOG 26/11/2020

Jord International help in the hills

In this turbulent 2020 year Jord’s annual Bush Heritage trip was hosted on the Tarcutta Hills Reserve to “do some good”, have some rest and relaxation and strengthen team bonding. This COVID year we could not be joined by our workmates from overseas and interstate but nevertheless people from our Sydney and Newcastle offices took part in an activity which has become an annual institution at Jord.

Read More

BLOG 10/11/2020

Edgy fauna survey, spa and salon

It has been a dream come true to spend the last two weeks helping with the spring fauna survey at Edgbaston reserve. I’m resting in the shade of the old, tin shearing shed, like the roos under the trees nearby, with some gusty afternoon breezes keeping it balmy, the sun beating down outside and a 360 degree view of vast open land. How lucky am I?!

Read More

BLOG 27/08/2020

Volunteering in Brigalow country

Regular Queensland-based volunteers Paul and Jo Flint report back on their recent caretaking work at Goonderoo Reserve in Central Queensland.

Read More

BLOG 06/08/2020

Dispatch from a volunteer

With Covid restrictions in South Australia relaxed a little, my husband Tony and I were lucky enough to spend three weeks in July volunteering at Boolcoomatta Reserve. We knew that there had been very little rain there over the past year and the magnificent River Red Gums were looking thirsty, as you would expect. What we didn’t expect was to see the profusion of wildflowers blooming in the gilgais out on the plains and in crevices on the rocky slopes. These bright little flowers bobbing in the breeze really brightened our time on the reserve. 

Read More

BLOG 06/05/2020

Living & volunteering on Boolcoomatta

G’day! My name is Andrea, at the moment I am one of the few lucky volunteers who still gets to go to work on a Bush Heritage reserve, so I thought I’d take you along with me for a week.

Read More

BLOG 09/04/2020

Revegetation monitoring

It had been 16 years since our last visit to Chereninup Creek Reserve, for a National Tree Day planting. That cold and blustery day was the start of a revegetation program in the mega-diverse region between the Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River National Parks in southern WA.

Read More

BLOG 02/03/2020

My fauna trapping experience

This year I was lucky enough to be accepted as a volunteer for the annual fauna trapping on Bon Bon Station Reserve. I'm a member of the 'Newcastle cluster' of Bush Heritage supporters – a small but keen group prepared to travel great distances to volunteer. So it was with great excitement that we set off on the long trek to Bon Bon in November.

Read More

BLOG 27/12/2019

Which is cuter – Honey or Pygmy Possum?

There’s some conjecture around which tiny marsupial is the cutest, Honey or Pygmy Possums. After seeing both popping up in the pitfall traps and nesting boxes blanketing the reserve, I can understand the debate. Over the course of five days myself and four other volunteers interacted with a broad cross-section of animals that had made homes for themselves in the newly revegetated areas.

Read More

BLOG 16/12/2019

Annual spring bird surveys at Naree

Good birding; important work; challenging and harshly beautiful environment; a very companionable group – the core elements of a really rewarding expedition.

Read More

BLOG 31/10/2019

Birds and burrs at Eurardy Reserve

Volunteer Jan describes her time at Eurardy Reserve this spring. From tackling the double gees and cape weed, to hearing a juvenile Pied Butcher Bird learning its song, read on for a week in the life of a Bush Heritage Australia volunteer.

Read More

BLOG 25/10/2019

Jord's outback adventure to Naree

'Back o’ Bourke' as a metaphor for a place very far from anywhere was coined for a reason. It took an hour long flight and a four-hour drive just to get to Bourke, and then another two hours on mostly dirt roads to get to the 'back' of it – Naree Reserve. But although Naree is literally 'back o’ Bourke', it rewards those with the determination to get there with a rich experience.

Read More

BLOG 13/08/2019

Volunteering from home

Working from home without physical exertion and getting my hands dirty is what I hoped to be able to do as a Bush Heritage volunteer - even though I love being out in the bush.

Read More

BLOG 08/05/2019

Adventure Paddling on the Murrumbidgee

I've just returned after spending 9 days being involved with our volunteers in the Adventurous Paddling Program, which is helping to improve fish habitat in the Murrumbidgee River near Scottsdale Reserve, as part of the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach.

Read More

BLOG 14/03/2019

Be prepared for remote travel

Autumn marks the unofficial start to the volunteer season for our remote area reserves. Michael Uhrig, volunteer team leader from Currumbin Reserve, issues a timely reminder about the importance of being well prepared for remote area travel, following his experiences during summer caretaking at Carnarvon.

Read More

BLOG 14/03/2019

Volunteers changing the world

Our monthly working bees in Tasmania are going from strength to strength, with new volunteers signing up every month. Last Saturday a team of nine (including three new volunteers) joined us to tackle blackberries and foxgloves in our Liffey River reserves.

Read More

BLOG 18/01/2019

Volunteering at Edgbaston

Coming from mainly a plant ecology background, it was great to have the opportunity to help out on the recent trapping survey at Edgbaston reserve. We started off the week with digging pitfalls traps. This was a relatively new experience for me and I can confirm its pretty hard work in the high 30˚C heat!

Read More

BLOG 24/07/2018

Our volunteering experience with Olkola

Mick and Kerry Moylan are long-time volunteers with Bush Heritage and their contribution can't be overstated! Here they share their experience of volunteering in Cape York for the recent Alwal Recovery Team meeting with our Olkola Aboriginal partners.

Read More

BLOG 07/06/2018

Volunteers create butterfly habitat

A small team of dedicated volunteers have been planting vines to create habitat for Richmond Birdwing Butterflies on Currumbin Reserve in south-east Queensland.

Read More

BLOG 12/12/2017

The wonderful Wildflower Society of WA

Thanks to the Western Australian Wildflower Society's help with collecting, processing, identifying and mounting thousands of plant specimens, we now have a thorough understanding of the unique plant species assemblages of Charles Darwin Reserve and Eurardy Reserve in the Mid-west of Western Australia.

Read More

BLOG 11/12/2017

An unforgettable volunteer experience

Back in September, Victorian-based volunteer Nathan Manders answered the call for reserve support to one of our most remote properties - Cravens Peak on the edge of the Simpson Desert. Here Nathan shares his reflections and some of his stunning images from that trip - one that he'll never forget.

Read More

BLOG 15/10/2017

Volunteers vs weeds at Boolcoomatta

In September we had an amazing group of 11 volunteers make the long trek to our Boolcoomatta Station Reserve to help with vital weed management. The group were focused on our long-term management strategy to control the African Boxthorn and Pepper Trees in the beautiful Oonatra Creek system.

Read More

BLOG 11/10/2017

Volunteer awakening

Bush Heritage volunteering opened my eyes to a landscape that I could never have imagined. As we turned through the gate, I felt like we'd landed on the moon. We'd been driving for six hours, having refuelled at Bourke before the final 170km of dirt road to Naree Station.

Read More

BLOG 12/09/2017

Murrumbidgee Platypus surveys

In the last week of August 10 volunteers conducted the annual platypus survey on the Upper Murrumbidgee River at Scottsdale Reserve, in association with Cooma Waterwatch coordinator, Antia Brademan and Reserve Manger, Phil Palmer.

Read More

BLOG 12/09/2017

Surveying Flashjacks on Avocet

Our volunteer caretakers at Goonderoo play an important role in the recovery of Bridled Nailtail Wallabies (Flashjacks) at neighbouring Avocet Nature Refuge in Central Qld. As part of their weekly caretaker duties, the volunteers conduct fence inspections and check water at the Flashjack nursery. They also support feral animal control, monitoring and weeding projects in the Brigalow habitat that the Flashjacks call home.

Read More

BLOG 24/07/2017

The caretaking experience of a lifetime

When the chance presented itself to caretake Bon Bon Station Reserve, Michael ​Uhrig jumped at the opportunity. He got on the phone and asked his mother June to join him - remote caretaking roles have a minimum requirement of two people, in-line with basic remote area safety protocols - you always need backup!

Read More

BLOG 13/07/2017

New walking trail at Hamelin

I've just found, or rather 'made' another good reason to visit the Hamelin Station Reserve, located on the edge of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area - the new Homestead Walk Trail...

Read More

BLOG 27/06/2017

Volunteers help combat cats

Keith Gooley and Peter Caulder are Bush Heritage volunteers with expertise in electronics and a passion for conservation. Keith and Peter are using these skills to help us address one of the biggest threats to Australian wildlife on Boolcoomatta Reserve - feral cats.

Read More

BLOG 23/05/2017

Sandpad monitoring at Charles Darwin

Brian Martin and Brian Crute are valued Bush Heritage volunteers who help with the seasonal sand pad monitoring on Charles Darwin Reserve in Western Australia. Here Brian Martin provides an account of this autumn's sand pad monitoring.

Read More

BLOG 21/12/2016

Volunteers answer researcher's call

Kathleen Davies and Brian Redman answered the call to volunteer at Naree Station, helping UNSW PhD student Justin McCann in his studies.

Read More

BLOG 27/10/2016

Ethabuka volunteers

Fourteen groups of volunteers kept us busy this year. Reconstructing and strengthening boundary fences was the top priority. In one particularly mammoth undertaking, volunteers managed to pull down and wind up 20km of fence in two days! On another day, two teams went out and put in an extra 2,000 posts at weak points along a fence to strengthen it.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 30/09/2016

Heike Eberhard

An environmental officer by trade and Bush Heritage volunteer in her spare time, Heike Erberhard explains why the work of Bush Heritage is vital to Australia.

Read More

BLOG 23/09/2016

Green Army teams lend a hand

Repairing landscapes by clearing away old infrastructure; chipping weeds; monitoring and working on fencing projects are just some of the jobs our Green Army teams have assisted with over the past 18 months at Bon Bon Station Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 25/08/2016

Volunteers busy on Nardoo Hills

For most of Victoria, rainfall in 2015 was below or very much below average and our Nardoo Hills Reserve and the Wedderburn region were no exception. In 2016 the rains have been a little more forthcoming giving us an opportunity to get saplings into the softer grounds.

Read More

BLOG 21/06/2016

Dirt track detectives at Goonderoo

Volunteers Tony and Vicky Darlington had never heard of 'sand pad monitoring' when they signed up for a stint as caretakers at Goonderoo Reserve in Central Queensland. But with some simple instructions and a little bit of practise they soon got their 'eye in' as dirt-track detectives.

Read More

BLOG 09/03/2016

A volunteer partnership at Bon Bon

Peter and Margie Calder are much valued volunteers. Over the past few years they've volunteered over 20 weeks of their time to their 'local reserve' – Bon Bon Station (it's only a day's drive away). They wrote this blog entry after completing their 8th placement at Bon Bon.

Read More

BLOG 17/12/2015

Carnarvon's valuable volunteers

Living on a remote reserve comes with many challenges and, believe it or not, leaving the reserve can often become one of the major ones – especially during wildfire season or leaving behind a menagerie of orphaned wildlife.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2015

Leaders among us

Bush Heritage has had volunteers leading groups of volunteers in the past, but our new program formalises the Volunteer Leader role and offers a more structured approach for people interested in using their leadership skills in this way.

Read More

BLOG 31/08/2015

Volunteers caring for Currumbin

On Saturday 22nd August a team of seven willing weeders headed down to Currumbin Reserve, nestled beside Nicoll Scrub National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland for the first ever working bee at this small but significant patch of remnant forest.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/06/2015

Volunteering – it’s good for you too!

While much has been written about the benefits of volunteering to the community and environment, new research is shedding light on the physical and mental health benefits to volunteers, particularly those who volunteer in the outdoors.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 20/03/2015

The volunteers next door

Twenty years ago, when Bush Heritage supporters helped to purchase and protect beautiful Brogo Reserve, little did we know that two very firm friends of the organisation – and future volunteers – lived just next door.

Read More
Loading...
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}