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593 ha
275km west of Rockhampton
Traditional Owners:
Western Kangoulu

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.

Woodlands at Goonderoo. Photo Mel Sheppard.
Woodlands at Goonderoo. Photo Mel Sheppard.

Just 6% of the brigalow shrublands remain, with only 2% protected in conservation reserves.

These remaining patches, including those at Goonderoo, provide refuge for many woodland species – bandicoots, bettongs, Sugar Gliders and Koalas are just some of the species found on the reserve.

Goonderoo also hosts habitat for the nationally endangered Bridled Nailtail Wallaby, a population of which lives on a neighbouring property – Avocet Nature Reserve.

All this has been protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

What Goonderoo protects

When Bush Heritage bought this property in 1998 the previous owners were generous enough to pass on a family list of bird species recorded over several decades. Since then we’ve built on that list, and it now includes mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Goonderoo Reserve also protects these significant species and communities:

Koalas at Goonderoo. Photo Jane Blackwood.
Koalas at Goonderoo. Photo Jane Blackwood.

Animals: Rufous Bettong, Long-nosed Bandicoot, Koala, Squatter Pigeon, Common Dunnart, Sugar Glider.

Vegetation communities: Bluegrass grasslands, Brigalow shrublands, Lancewood shrublands, riparian forest, Poplar Box woodlands, red-gum forest.

What we’re doing on the property

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.

Volunteer John Wybrow conducting sandpad monitoring at Goonderoo. Photo Rebecca Diete.
Volunteer John Wybrow conducting sandpad monitoring at Goonderoo. Photo Rebecca Diete.

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 get established.

Managing fire and weeds helps us maintain habitat for mammals on the reserve, including Rufous Bettongs, Koalas, Bandicoots and Sugar Gliders. Volunteers regularly conduct monitoring and pest management work on Goonderoo to help protect threatened mammals that are vulnerable to invasive predators.

Flashjacks back from the dead

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 all changed in 1973 when the animal was sighted on a cattle station near Dingo in central Queensland.

A Nailtail Wallaby with joey. Photo Steve Parish.
A Nailtail Wallaby with joey. Photo Steve Parish.

It was later discovered that the wallaby was 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.

History and cultural values

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.