QPWS Ranger Carly Smith. Photo: Queensland Government.
Carly Smith is a Ranger at Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park in the Central West region of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS). She was a fulltime (Army) reservist when she was advised to ‘get serious and find a long-term career’. This was around the time that Cyclone Larry had hit the north Queensland coast and QPWS was offering traineeships at Cardwell and Cape York Peninsula. She applied for both, and was selected for the Cardwell position.
How long have you worked in national parks?
A lucky 13 years! I started in 2006.
Which parks have you worked in?
I’ve worked in a few… I started in QPWS Cardwell office and worked in all the nearby parks and state forests including Cardwell State Forest, Tully Gorge NP, Murray Falls and Edmund Kennedy sections of Girramay NP and Blencoe Falls, Girringun NP. I also jumped on the boat and worked with the marine park rangers on Hinchinbrook Island NP and Dunk Island, in the Family Islands NP.
Then it was off to ‘The Cape’, where I worked at Mungkan Kandju NP, as it was known when I was there; it later changed to Oyala Thumotang NP (CYPAL). I also worked at Rinyirru (Lakefield) NP (CYPAL) and in other nearby parks including Cape Melville NP and Jack River NP.
I’ve taken the opportunity to work in relieving positions in Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) NP, and at the Princess Hills office which included Princess Hills NP, Blencoe Falls and the recently-purchased Wairuna station, before it became Girringun NP. I’ve also worked out of the Clermont office on Nairana and Cudmore NPs and Epping Forest NP (Scientific).
I am currently based out at Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) NP…and do the odd job or project down at our other park, Camooweal Caves NP.
What is your most memorable moment?
I have been lucky enough to have quite a few, so it is hard to choose, but I suppose you can never beat enjoying a wet season thunder storm while sitting back watching it roll in and then…CRACK!!
Can you describe your favourite national parks experience?
A ranger who was working at Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) NP (before me) put me on to this: sitting on top of a range on the Constance Range walking track and watching the sun go down on one side of the range and then turning around and watching the moon rise up on the other side of the range. Beautiful!
What is the best part about working in a National Park?
For me the best part is the lifestyle that I get to lead and the rangers I get to work with and live with in remote areas. I have had a great opportunity to work and live in some of the most spectacular and remote parts of Queensland; and work and live with some great rangers…and those experiences will stay with me forever.
What is your top tip for visitors to parks for bushwalking?
Sometimes to really appreciate and experience things you just need to stop and watch. The river system here at Boodjamulla is so important to both plant and animal life, and if you stop and watch for a while, you will be amazed by what you’ll see.
What is your top tip for campers?
Don’t be in a rush to get somewhere! Some of the best spots, like Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) NP, can be found a bit out of your way and off the main road. But they are so worth it!
NPAQ thanks Carly for taking time to answer our questions. We appreciate the work all QPWS rangers undertake in protecting Queensland’s national parks.