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
At the heart of Queensland’s Brigalow Belt bioregion lies a Bush Heritage property that’s part of a disappearing world.
Goonderoo Reserve was bought because it secured a group of rapidly vanishing ecosystems – among them the Brigalow shrublands.
Taking their name from the long-lived, silvery wattle known as Brigalow, the once extensive Brigalow Belt shrublands have fallen prey to large-scale land clearance.
Just 6% of the brigalow shrublands remain, with only 2% protected in conservation reserves.
Goonderoo also hosts habitat for the nationally endangered Bridled Nailtail Wallaby, a population of which lives on a neighbouring property – Avocet Nature Reserve.
When Bush Heritage bought this property the previous owners were generous enough to pass on a family list of bird species recorded over several decades. We’ve since built on that list, which now includes numerous mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
All this is protected thanks to our generous supporters.
Volunteers regularly conduct monitoring and pest management work on Goonderoo to help protect threatened mammals that are vulnerable to invasive predators.
One of our biggest tasks at Goonderoo is to help the shrubby woodlands regenerate – a task that’s made challenging by an introduced pasture crop – Buffel Grass.
Native to Africa and India, Buffel Grass was brought into Australia as a drought and fire-tolerant livestock feed. Since then it’s replaced native plants over large areas.
As well as dramatically increasing damage from fires, Buffel Grass burns so hot that it kills most native Australian plants. Even the fire-adapted ones.
We’re using strategic controlled grazing to keep the Buffel Grass at bay, which reduces the risk of intense fire and gives the native plants a chance to establish.
Up until the early 1970s it was thought that the only place left to see a Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was in the history books.
This beautiful, lively marsupial, also known as a Flashjack Wallaby, hadn’t been seen for 36 years. But that changed in 1973 when one was sighted on a cattle station near Dingo in central Queensland.
It was later discovered to be part of a population of nailtails that had survived in what’s now the Taunton National Park. Since then two more populations have been established as part of an insurance policy against the loss of the Taunton animals.
One of these sanctuaries is at Avocet Nature Reserve, which adjoins Goonderoo. We’re hoping that by restoring the shrublands and woodlands of Goonderoo, the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby will have one more place to call home.
There are Aboriginal artefacts on the reserve, showing that Indigenous inhabitants occupied the Goonderoo area.
Initially established by European settlers for sheep and timber production, the area soon became cattle-grazing country. The Spooner family settled on what is now Goonderoo during the 1940s, and the family maintains a strong interest in the reserve.
Goonderoo’s purchase was made possible with funds from the Commonwealth’s National Reserve System Program, as well as our generous supporters.
In late 2018 Paul Bateman spent a month at Goonderoo Reserve working as a volunteer caretaker, both on the reserve and helping with the Flashjack (Bridled Nailtail Wallaby) recovery project.Read More
Reserve-based volunteer placements are often a great opportunity for some citizen science. Many of our volunteers contribute excellent photos and incidental records for our species lists and databases as well as making important submissions to other organisations and projects such as Birdlife Australia and the Atlas of Living Australia.Read More
Bush Heritage volunteers and staff recently had the chance to get up close and personal with Bridled Nailtail Wallabies in what turned out to be a record survey of the translocated population.Read More
Volunteers play an important role in weed control projects across the country. On Goonderoo Reserve in Central Qld, the target species is Sword Cactus (Acanthocereus pentagonus) a tall, columnar cactus that reaches a height of 2-7m. Sword cactus is multi-stemmed and highly spiky. It has the ability to form dense thickets and will dominate a vegetation community to the exclusion of many other plant and animal species.Read More
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
The Bridled Nail-tail Wallaby (aka Flashjack) is one of Australia's rarest and most endangered macropods - there are only around 300 left in the wild. On Avocet Nature Refuge, neighbouring our Goonderoo Reserve, staff and volunteers have the privilege of supporting innovative work that's successfully boosting breeding numbers in the wild.Read More
I recently spent a few days with volunteers Rosemary Rogers and Geoff Spanner who spent a month on Goonderoo working on weeds and infrastructure. The place, especially around the homestead, is looking way better for it. Geoff is also a photographer and videographer and carries a camera drone (the DJI Phantom 3 to be exact).Read More
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
Former video surveillance specialist and Bush Heritage volunteer Tom Sjolund is exploring ways old smartphones could help with wildlife monitoring.Former video surveillance specialist and Bush Heritage volunteer Tom Sjolund is exploring ways old smartphones could help with wildlife monitoring.Read More