Ben Hall is Ranger in Charge of Eungella National Park in the Mackay Management Unit.
He has always enjoyed exploring the outdoors, in particular new remote places. He could think of no better profession to do this, and help protect the environment, than becoming a Ranger!
How long have you worked in national parks?
I have worked for QPWS for 19 years.
Which parks have you worked in?
I have worked mostly around the Mackay and Whitsunday regions in some beautiful national parks and State forests, including Brampton Island NP, South Cumberland Islands NP, Whitsundays Islands NP, Conway NP, Eungella NP, Cape Hillsborough NP and Cape Palmerston NP. Working in various roles, I’ve encountered many rewarding challenges and had the opportunity to be a part of the protection of some very special parks in the Mackay Region that will be around for future generations to enjoy.
What is special about your current park?
Eungella National Park is the longest stretch of sub-tropical rainforest in Australia and one of Queensland’s most ecologically diverse parks – home to some special endemic species. The remote sections of Eungella are magnificent! As you climb 700m onto the Clarke Range, the landscape changes and gives rise to dense sub-tropical rainforest and escarpments with deep gorges and crystal clear mountain creeks.
What is your most memorable moment as a ranger?
I have had so many unforgettable experiences while working with QPWS! My most memorable include conducting reef health surveys on the Great Barrier Reef, participating in feral animal control programs on St Bees and South Percy islands and helping build the Great Walk through Conway National Park. I’d also count undertaking fire management among my most memorable experiences! This includes suppressing large wildfires on Homevale National Park and conducting broad scale aerial planned burns across 100,000 hectares of protected area in the Mackay Highlands. The mosaic broad scale burning across the Mackay Highlands has been a great success over the last three years, as it has created a reduced and varied age class of fuel across the parks. Wildfires caused by lightning strikes have been low intensity and quite manageable since the aerial burning has been implemented.
What is the best part about working in a National Park?
The best part is having the opportunity to help preserve and improve the condition of our national parks for future generations to enjoy, while protecting the values that make our protected areas special.
Can you describe your favourite national parks experience?
Camping on Scawfell Island would have to be one of my favorite national parks experiences. Scawfell is approximately 26 nautical miles from Mackay and is part of the South Cumberland Islands National Park. Refuge Bay has a beautiful sandy beach, pristine fringing reef and is a popular anchorage for yachts. If you climb to the peak of the island you get amazing views across the South Cumberland Island group!
What is your top tip for visitors to your park?
Pre-plan your journey! When setting off on the longer more remote walks, be prepared and know the difficulty of the walk. Ensure you have adequate supplies, clothing, water and a basic first aid kit. Let someone know where and when you are going and when you intend to return. Carry a Personal Locator Beacon.
NPAQ thanks Ben for taking time to answer our questions. We appreciate the work all QPWS rangers undertake in protecting Queensland’s national parks.