Redwood Park is a large bushland reserve on the Toowoomba range. Legislated by the Queensland State Government for the protection of native birds in 1910 it is now run by the Toowoomba Regional Council as a public park.
The place is pretty special to me – as a teenager in the 80’s I used to head bush from Katoomba Point go down off the side, bush bash through it all, somehow make it to Table Top (seen in the photo above), and then come back up at Picnic Point and walk home to Prince Henry Heights again ~ covered in scratches and completely stuffed, but loving it. I even set part of my novels The Forest of Life and Shows So Fair in Redwood, and in fact even wrote some of The Forest of Life here in the forest.
So yes I’m pretty invested, but that’s all by the by because the park means much more than that, and is critical habitat for a number of vulnerable species, to say nothing off its value to everyone else in the town and its rich Indigenous, European and Natural history.
In late 2020 I lodged an application to have the whole park admitted to the Queensland Heritage Register, a small (but important) part of the park was admitted, but the majority of the park wasn’t. Incredibly the Toowoomba Regional Council opposed the listing 🙁
Around December 2019 I formed The Darling Downs Branch of BirdLife Southern Queensland and we kicked off with a year long study of regular bird surveys in Redwood Park. We’ve just concluded that study and I am writing it up at the moment. Some of the bird calls I recorded there are on my Bird Calls of the Toowoomba Region page as well.
Redwood faces a lot of pressure including the proposal to expand mountain bike trails into the park. In the interview below I, and Tim McMahon, a Councillor from the Toowoomba Regional Council, are interviewed on ABC radio about the future of the park. This sums up a lot of the issues and conflicting view points quite well.
One of the birds we’re interested in in the park is the Black breasted button quail Turnix melanogaster – I had a camera trap set recently and decided to make a video about collecting it and looking at the photos. (This was a spur of the moment decision though with just my mobile phone – so it’s a little rough)
The status of the park is very much up in the air and hopefully it can come to a good conclusion – but sadly conservation never seems permanent does it – there’s always someone else who wants to come along and develop something for their own ends 🙁
And to be honest this has made me pretty sad – it’s made me think why try and preserve something? It goes beyond your own interests, it’s not even for future generations – its about trying to transcend humanity’s shortcomings – because if we destroy ourselves life itself is still going to go on, and if we can’t live within keeping of that we won’t be able to live at all. And when people just see something as an asset to be exploited it’s heartbreaking and destructive.