The Venman Bushland National Park is around 40km south of Brisbane on West Mt Cotton Road. Drew spotted the entrance when running an errand and we added it straight onto our list for closer investigation.
Venman Bushland a block of 415 hectares, a large chunk of which was originally privately owned. The owner was Jack Venman, a local bushman who had planned to farm cattle on the land but after observing the degradation of pastoral properties he worked on around the country he came up with another plan to restore it to how it had been 200 years before.
The Venman Bushlands area had been logged in the early 1900’s so it was a significant task to return it to the beautiful parkland that it is today. Jack also built the walking tracks that double as fire breaks and dammed a small section of Tingalpa Creek to maintain a freshwater supply for the animals during dry season.
As the area around his property developed Jack sought to protect it permanently by selling the land to the Shire in 1971. He sold it for only $1 the lowest value possible to make the sale legal. He continued on as caretaker helping manage the land until he was 73, after his death, it was named in his honour and is now managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife.
It’s inspiring to see what one man’s vision 40 years ago has achieved, today it is one of the better examples of eucalypt forest supporting a diverse array of wildlife and birds. The Venman Bushlands National Park is also part of a coordinated Koala conservation area but Koala aren’t the only wildlife enjoying the benefits of their habitat being preserved.
Spotting the local wildlife
There is a diverse range of birds and reptiles here, we were fortunate enough to spot a good size gonna, wallabies and a Southern Boobook (owl) amongst other things on our walks here. It’s one of the few Redlands walks known for koalas where we haven’t managed to spot one ourselves but we’ve spoken others who have so we hope our next visit will be the charm.
The Southern Boobook is a small owl that is quite common in Australia but this spot was still exciting as you don’t see them very often. They generally choose a well-camouflaged area to rest during the day and while this one was high up in the tree he was quite exposed.
Lace monitors or tree goanna are large lizards from the same family as Indonesia’s Komodo dragons. They can grow up to 2-metres long and up to 14 kg in weight. This one is a lovely example. They aren’t aggressive and keep to themselves but you don’t want to corner or frighten one, they have sharp teeth and claws and bacteria in their mouth that can cause a nasty infection if you are bitten.
The tracks within the Venman Bushland area join with and cross several other tracts of land acquired at different times and they now form a significant green belt for koalas and other wildlife.
This map of the Koala Bushland Coordinated conservation area shows a number of the walks including the Tingalpa Creek Circuit and the Venman circuit that we’ve tackled here.