Edgbaston

A map showing the location of Edgbaston Reserve in Queensland.

Established: 2008
Area: 8,074 ha
Location: Central Qld, 140km NE of Longreach
Custodians: Innigai people

Detailed map >

Sometimes, the more we learn about a Bush Heritage property, the more we realise just how little we know about Australia’s wild places.

That’s definitely true of Edgbaston Reserve, home to what scientists have called the most significant natural springs for global biodiversity in the entire Great Artesian Basin.

Galahs in open gidyea woodland on Edgbaston. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Galahs in open gidyea woodland on Edgbaston. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Fed by water travelling hundreds of kilometres beneath a dry, arid environment, these isolated springs have given rise to the evolution of more than two dozen species found nowhere else on the planet.

Two nationally threatened fish – the Red-finned Blue-eye and Edgbaston Goby – 11 types of snail, a small crustacean, a flatworm, a spider and a species of dragonfly reside exclusively in the spring-fed pools at Edgbaston.

Bush Heritage freshwater ecologist Pippa Kern in the springs at Edgbaston. Photo Andera Zimny.
Bush Heritage freshwater ecologist Pippa Kern in the springs at Edgbaston. Photo Andera Zimny.
The reserve’s flora is also exceptional. Surveys have revealed that Edgbaston is home to 15 newly discovered plants, many yet to be named.

Given its small size, Edgbaston is surprisingly diverse, spanning the Mitchell Grass Plains and Desert Uplands, Edgbaston protects 27 regional ecosystems, including two listed as 'endangered' and six as ‘of concern’.

All this has been protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

What Edgbaston protects

In addition to its endangered fish, Edgbaston protects a number of plant species that are found nowhere else in the world. Some of these are completely new to science, such as the endangered tall pipewort. Edgbaston also protects these significant species and communities:

Bustards in native grasslands at Edgbaston. Photo Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.
Bustards in native grasslands at Edgbaston. Photo Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.
Animals: Red-finned Blue-eye (endangered fish), Edgbaston Goby (vulnerable fish), Squatter Pigeon, Brolga, Australian Bustard, Black-headed Python

Plants: Aloe Pipewort (endangered), Blue Devil (endangered), Regal Bassia (vulnerable), Watermilfoil, Spring grass.

Vegetation communities: Artesian springs community (endangered), Spinifex hummock grassland, Cane grass grassland, Mitchell grass grassland, Microcybe wattle shrubland.

What we’re doing

Gambusia fish at Edgbaston springs

Work to control invasive Gambusia (Mosquito fish), which feed on small fish, invertebrates and fish eggs, will help the survival of both the Edgbaston Goby and the Red-finned Blue-eye. It will also help the endangered springs communities – which includes everything from snails to spiders and aquatic plants – from suffering further degradation.

Edgbaston Gobies in springs on the reserve.

Controlling feral pigs is another management priority – they can trample and churn up a wetland spring in just one feeding session.

We're also working hard to restore and look after the Lake Mueller wetlands and springs basin. In flood this basin provides habitat for raptors, ducks, shorebirds, waders and large numbers of brolgas.

A fight for survival

In 1990 the Edgbaston Springs surprised the world when they revealed the presence of a tiny blue-eye type of fish with striking red fins – the nationally threatened Red-finned Blue-eye.

The tiny Red-finned Blue-eye. Photo Adam Kereszy.
The tiny Red-finned Blue-eye. Photo Adam Kereszy.
Found in just a few shallow springs fed by underground aquifers on Edgbaston Reserve, the Red-finned Blue-eye is one of Australia's tiniest and most threatened freshwater fish.

Our ecologists have been busy protecting the Red-finned Blue-eye from its biggest threat, an invasive fish introduced into Australia in the 1920s in an ill-considered attempt to control mosquitoes.

We've now fenced all Red-finned Blue-eye populations to provide protection and have isolated important springs with barriers to prevent invasive mosquito fish from entering during times of flooding. We're also expanding our captive breeding capabilities.

History and cultural values

Brolgas gather on Edgbaston after rain. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Brolgas gather on Edgbaston after rain. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Little is known about the Aboriginal cultural heritage of Edgbaston but it's likely that the Lake Mueller wetlands and springs were and still are significant food and water sources.

To learn more about the reserve's Aboriginal heritage we'll team up with local Indigenous people to carry out important survey and assessment work.

Edgbaston also has a pastoral history dating back well over 100 years, when the region was established as Aramac Station.

Edgbaston Reserve was acquired in 2008 with the help of the Australian Government and The Nature Conservancy. We'd also like to acknowledge The Nature Conservancy's David Thomas Challenge and Desert Channels Queensland, through funding from the Australian Government's Caring for Our Country program, for their generous support.