Philippa Hambleton and Rod MacPherson are the owners of a property situated in Ballandean, approximately 160km south of Toowoomba, Queensland. The property is a wildlife-friendly sanctuary, also used for recreation and as the site of a small house and vineyard. Philippa and Rod intend to preserve and manage the property’s natural values, with plans to control invasive weeds and conduct cool burns. The owners are also exploring options for protecting the land in-perpetuity.
The property spans 15 hectares of mostly wooded land comprised of eucalypt forest interspersed with granite boulders. Two hectares are cleared for a homestead and vineyard, and a dam within the property’s gully also houses several wetland species. The property is part of a broad wildlife corridor connecting to Girraween National Park through a chain of neighbouring Nature Refuges and forested properties.
Wildlife is abundant and includes eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus), swamp wallabies (Wallabia bicolor), brushtail (Trichosurus vulpecula) and ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) possums, short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), emperor gum moths (Opodiphthera eucalypti), red triangle slugs (Triboniophorus graeffei) and a range of native frogs. Reptiles such as eastern water dragons (Intellagama lesueurii), lace monitors (Varanus varius), skinks, red-bellied black snakes (Pseudechis porphyriacus) and eastern brown snakes (Pseudonaja textilis) are also found on the property.
An array of birdlife is present including laughing kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae), magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen), bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) and crested (Ocyphaps lophotes) pigeons, grey shrike thrushes (Colluricincla harmonica), peaceful doves (Geopelia placida), rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus), king parrots (Alisterus scapularis), crimson rosellas (Platycercus elegans), yellow-tailed black cockatoos (Zanda funerea), black-faced cuckoo shrikes (Coracina novaehollandiae), barking owls (Ninox connivens), tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides), letter-winged kites (Elanus scriptus), pied currawongs (Strepera graculina) and Torresian crows (Corvus orru).
Small birds are abundant and include superb fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus), yellow-faced (Lichenostomus chrysops) and white-cheeked (Phylidonyris niger) honeyeaters, eastern spinebills (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris), grey fantails (Rhipidura albiscapa), scarlet (Petroica boodang) and eastern yellow (Eopsaltria australis) robins, double-barred finches (Taeniopygia bichenovii), spotted pardalotes (Pardalotus punctatus) and quail thrushes (Cinclosoma spp.).
Migratory species such as the eastern koel (Eudynamys orientalis), dollar bird (Eurystomus orientalis) and channel-billed cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae) are also regular and long-time visitors to the sanctuary.