GRAND GESTURE: Pam and Frank Brown stand near a plaque that records their donation of 390 hectares to the Queensland Department of Parks and Wildlife.
GRAND GESTURE: Pam and Frank Brown stand near a plaque that records their donation of 390 hectares to the Queensland Department of Parks and Wildlife. Michael Nolan

Wildlife rescue kicked into overdrive with huge donation

FOR the better part of the past 100 years Frank Brown's family worked the land at Gladfield and now they have decided to give back.

The family donated 390 hectares of rare Glengallan scrub country to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

It will increase the area of the Mount Dumaresq Conservation Park four-fold.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife deputy director Ben Klaassen said it was "almost unheard of" for a family to donate land.

"It's not usually something that happens, it's pretty special for a family to do this," Mr Klaassen said.

"Mostly we have pay for the land."

The Brown family ran cattle on part of the land until 1999.

It runs over the top of the mountains to the west of the Gladfield church and the higher reaches were inaccessible to cattle.

This means the land is mostly untouched and Mr Brown said there were few pieces like it.

"With the southern part of the Darling Downs being one of the first areas in Queensland to be settle by Europeans, much of the original vegetation has now either been cleared or substantially altered for agriculture or urban settlement," he said.

This Glengallan scrub country ran along the foothills of the Great Dividing Range from Gladfield, south to Killarney but the fertile soil made it ripe for cultivation.

"It has almost completely disappeared," Mr Brown said.

The portion of donated land is full of native wildlife, including koalas and rock wallabies and has huge scenic value.

Its catchment area feeds a silt fan that spreads across the fertile valley of Gladfield.

Mr Brown, his family and forebears took great pride in their role as custodians of the land.

His grandparents selected land in Gladfield and moved up from Port Fairy, in Victoria, in 1908.

Later generations added more selections to the family farm including one that was a Prickly-Pear Selection.

"The rent was one pepper corn per year, if demanded, but they never demanded it," Mr Brown said.

"There was a requirement that you had to clear the prickly-pear on a regular basis."

Frank took over family operations on the farm in 1962 and married Pam soon after.

They fed dairy cattle on hills and had a small milking operation on the flats.

There was also some beef cattle from time to time.

They retired in 1999 and moved to Southbrook.

Mr and Mrs Brown are ardent conservationists and have been members of the National Parks Association of Queensland for 50 years.

He reckon all farmers should be, and are, conservationists.

"That's part of our livelihood, looking after the country," he said.

"If you don't look after your country, it won't look after you.

"When we were here we were always clearing lantana, boxthorn and things like that, but that's just part of your job," Mr Brown said.