CHIDNA STATION

Chidna Station supports four threatened species, including the Purple-necked Rock-wallaby. We are doing applied research on these species to inform management actions.

Chidna Station video curated by Braydon Maloney in consultation with Conservation Partners.

WHERE IS CHIDNA STATION?

Chidna Station is a 26,000 hectare pastoral lease, approximately 130 km north of Mount Isa in QLD’s north-western highlands.


The Chidna lease has been owned by the Spreadborough family since it was first established. “Brussie” Spreadborough is the current owner and is a proud First Nations decendent. Chidna is Wakabunga country.

Chidna Station. Photo credit to Braydon Maloney.

Chidna Station. Photo credit to Braydon Maloney.

WHY CHIDNA?

There are at least 4 state listed threatened species on the property: Purple-necked Rock-wallabies (Vulnerable, NCA), Carpentarian Grasswrens (Endangered, NCA), Gouldian Finches (Endangered, NCA), and Red-flushed River Turtle (Near Threatened, NCA). Two endangered riverine Regional Ecosystems also occur on Chidna.


Chidna has been only lightly stocked for its entire history, and this is reflected in the healthy suite of perennial native grasses we see on the property. There appears to have been very few widespread and intense wildfires. Consequently, the natural values of Chidna seem to be mostly in-tact, although there are significant pressures that need management attention.

Purple-necked Rock-wallaby at Chidna Station. Photo credit to Braydon Maloney.

Chidna Station. Photo credit to Braydon Maloney.

THE MANAGEMENT CHALLENGE

Conservation Partners is working with the Spreadborough’s to develop and implement a property-wide conservation management plan. We are focussing on developing a set of actions that have multiple benefits for threatened species, as well as the entire ecosystem.


The challenge is that we can’t just simply sit down and write a management plan, because there are some significant gaps in our knowledge about how the system works. For example, we don’t have a detailed understanding of past fire patterns. Understanding how fire has behaved historically can provide really useful information about how to tackle wildfires. We have created a high resolution, 30-year fire history which now gives us this information and also provides a benchmark against which we can assess our future fire management actions. These actions will start in the 2023-24 wet season.


There are also some big gaps in our understanding of the ecology of a few of the key wildlife species on Chidna. Indeed, there is practically no information about how Purple-necked Rock-wallabies use the landscape, their habitat requirements and threats. Similarly, although we know there are Carpentarian Grasswrens and Gouldian Finches on the property, we don’t yet know how widespread they are or how many there are. Feral Cats could potentially be a big issue to all of these threatened species. We need to try to understand if they are a serious threat. These are all important questions we need to answer to inform management!

Purple-necked Rock-wallaby on Chinda Station. Photo credit to Patrick Webster.

SO WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE DOING ON CHIDNA?

We are collecting some of the critical ecological information needed to make informed management decisions on Chidna. This includes:

• Creating a detailed fire history extending back 30 years.

• Tracking Purple-necked Rock-wallabies to understand how they use habitats.

• Estimating the population size of Gouldian Finches and locating nesting areas.

• Mapping where Carpentarian Grasswrens occur to inform fire management.

Managing Feral Cats, including gathering site specific information about their ecology.

If all goes to plan, starting in the 2023-24 wet season, we will apply this information to support on-ground prescribed burning operations, which will mitigate the impact of future wildfires.

Chidna Station. Photo credit to Braydon Maloney.

WHEN WILL THIS HAPPEN?


It’s all happening right now! We started work in 2023 and the information is already starting to flow through. Be sure to sign up to receive our newsletters and keep an eye on our website and socials.

OUR PARTNERS