Shane is a Senior Ranger based in Bladensburg National Park, near Winton in Central West Queensland. Having always had a love for working in remote and regional locations coupled with a personal interest in native fauna and flora, gravitating towards a career as a Ranger was inevitable.
How long have you worked in national parks?
Nearly 15 years, starting my career as a Ranger in 2008 at Lochern National Park, south of Longreach.
Which parks have you worked in?
I was a Ranger at Lochern National Park for a few years and then moved a little further south to Welford National Park, where I stayed for 10 years and took over the role of Ranger in Charge for the Cooper Catchment. I have had the pleasure of working at many amazing places in Central West Queensland including Munga Thirri, Diamantina, Astrebla and Idalia national park and quite a few more with fire and pest management work.
Where do you work now and what is special about your current park?
Recently my wife, Mary, and I moved to Bladensburg National Park and took on the roles of Ranger and Ranger in Charge. It’s a little closer to town then the 270km that Welford was from Longreach which is a good bonus. There are so many cool things to see at Bladensburg National Park, too many to list. I do like walking through the old Homestead every morning which is now the Bladensburg visitors centre, and looking at the sauropod front leg bone on display. Not too many people can say they see one of those every day. Don’t worry, it’s in a case so it doesn’t run away!
What is your most memorable moment as a ranger?
Not long ago I had a bit of a stand-off with a Kowari. A Kowari is a nocturnal carnivorous mammal about the size of a small rodent and looks a bit like a squirrel. It has a mouthful of sharp teeth like a wolf and its tail has a fluffy end like a lion. We came across it while driving one night out at Astrebla Downs National Park, conducting feral animal control, and it wouldn’t move off the road. I got out of the car and walked up to it, but it raised its hackles and flared its fluffy tail and stared me down. The attitude and defiance of such a small creature was memorable. Quickly realising I was no match, I got back in the car and drove around it. My other best moment was receiving the Director General’s Award for Individual Safety in 2018. It was unexpected and very humbling.
What is the best part about working in a National Park?
Over the years I have assisted with emergency natural disaster responses including cyclone Marcia in 2014 and numerous wildfires like Crows Nest in 2019. I hope in a small way my help in these natural disasters made a difference for those communities in their time of need.
I often have to remind myself that I’m being paid to do what I love, that probably makes it the best job in the world.
Can you describe your favourite national parks experience?
One of my favourite experiences was watching the sunset from the little red sand dune at Welford National Park. The setting sun casts an aura over the red sands while overlooking the green and golden spinifex blowing in the breeze. The contrast against the white bark of the Central Australian ghost gums just makes it so picture-perfect.
What is your top tip for visitors to your park?
When you come to Bladensburg National Park you can wander around the old homestead and take in the pastoral history. It’s a great stop for many on their outback journey. I would encourage you to take Scrammy Drive to Scrammy Gorge and take in the history along the way. Then to finish it off, stop at Scrammy Lookout at the edge of the escarpment with a panoramic snapshot across the Mitchell Grass Downs and western Queensland.