Cattle country conserved after anonymous $21m gift

A cattle property in outback Queensland will be turned into a national park after one of the largest philanthropic donations for protected land in Australia.

The purchase of Vergemont Station near Longreach will conserve nearly 350,000 hectares, thanks to the $21 million donation from an anonymous philanthropist.

The acquisition by the Queensland government was completed with the support of The Nature Conservancy, to which the donation was made.

The working cattle farm is a habitat for the elusive and endangered night parrot, the vulnerable yellow-footed rock wallaby and threatened Opalton grasswren.

Two yellow-footed rock wallabies
Yellow-footed rock wallabies have a better chance of thriving thanks to the anonymous benefactor.

It also sits at the headwaters of the Lake Eyre Basin, one of Queensland’s most important inland river catchments.

"Vergemont has a number of ecosystems that are really important," James Fitzsimons from The Nature Conservancy told AAP.

“This purchase is most likely the single largest donation to buy land for conservation in Australian history."

Another view of the station.
The land is home to the night parrot, yellow-footed rock wallaby and Opalton grasswren.

Almost all of the property is covered in remnant vegetation.

The land contains 34 different regional ecosystems, ranking it higher than most of the existing national parks in terms of regional ecosystem representation.

Sitting adjacent to the recently acquired Tonkoro Station the purchase will create a corridor that conserves almost one and a half million hectares, according to the Queensland government.

“This acquisition will see the total area of land currently protected or acquired for future dedication as protected areas push over 15 million hectares for the first time," Environment Minister Leanne Linard said.

“Dedication of Vergemont Station, and the recently acquired Tonkoro and Melrose Stations, as national park, will also generate a range of economic activity in the local region."

The government said boulder opal mining operations will be allowed to continue on 40,000 hectares of the property, but the rest of it will be converted into a national park.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store