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Unique nature reserve in western Queensland granted highest level of protection in Australia

Published 03 Jun 2024

Leading conservation not-for-profit Bush Heritage Australia, together with Bidjara Traditional Owners, have celebrated Edgbaston Reserve’s new Special Wildlife Reserve status, which sees an area north-east of Longreach permanently protected from mining, logging and grazing.

The Special Wildlife Reserve legislation is unique to Queensland, affording privately owned land the same level of statutory protection as national parks, when they protect areas of exceptional natural and cultural value.

Bush Heritage purchased Edgbaston Reserve in 2008 to protect over 100 artesian springs. 

The ecological values of the reserve are exceptional, being the second most diverse springs system in the world, containing at least 35 species of plants and animals where the stronghold or all of the population is found at Edgbaston. 

“This level of protection ensures the continued survival of some of the world's most unique species,” said Rachel Lowry, Bush Heritage’s Chief Executive Officer. “With this Special Wildlife Reserve legislation, we now have an unparalleled opportunity to enhance the protection of this extraordinary landscape." 
Red-finned Blue-eye. Photo Calumn Hockey.

Edgbaston Reserve is only the second Special Wildlife Reserve in Queensland – the first being Bush Heritage’s Pullen Pullen Reserve on Maiawali Country which protects an elusive Night Parrot population.  

The status means that Bush Heritage will be able to protect the cultural and ecological values of Edgbaston Reserve, which include the only known populations of the critically endangered Red-finned Blue-eye fish and Edgbaston Goby.  

Bush Heritage worked closely with Bidjara Traditional Owners on the application for Special Wildlife Reserve status. Bidjara people plan to undertake cultural heritage surveys of the property to increase knowledge of the cultural significance of this important property. 

"Edgbaston Reserve is part of Bidjara culture, connection to Country, place, storylines, language, social practices, rituals and historical events,” said Bidjara spokesperson Trevor Robinson. “Working with Bush Heritage at Edgbaston Reserve has facilitated greater connection to Country, connecting living Bidjara people to our ancestors who lived on Country for tens of thousands of years.” 
Dr Rossini collecting eDNA samples. Photo Calumn Hockey.

Together with Traditional Custodians, Bush Heritage has submitted Special Wildlife Reserve applications for 4 other nature reserves: Carnavon Station Reserve in the Brigalow Belt, Yourka Reserve in the Einsleigh Uplands, and Ethabuka and Pilungah Reserves in western Queensland. 

“The Special Wildlife Reserve status is the ultimate way to ensure that important places across private land are protected. Our reserves are home to irreplaceable ecosystems and places of such cultural significance that we must give them the highest possible level of protection. We’re very hopeful for a positive outcome of our four pending applications,” said Rachel Lowry.


Bush Heritage Australia is a leading not-for-profit conservation organisation that protects ecosystems and wildlife across the continent. We use the best science, conservation and right-way knowledge to deliver landscape-scale impact. We’re on the ground, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the agricultural sector to make sure our impact is deep, sustainable and collaborative. For more information on Bush Heritage Australia, click here.

For more information, please contact:

Coco McGrath, Social Media & PR Coordinator
Bush Heritage Australia
Mobile: 0455 635 035
Email: coco.mcgrath@bushheritage.org.au

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Red-finned Blue-eye. Photo Calumn Hockey.

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