Gondwana Rainforest Sanctuary

Gondwana Rainforest Sanctuary, created by the Joffe Group, was due to open on 20 June 1992 (but in fact opened a week later). It was set up as an Australian wildlife sanctuary and tourist attraction in the South Bank Parklands, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, following World Expo 88. There were about 500 animals at the sanctuary.

Blue-faced honeyeater at Gondwana Rainforest Sanctuary Aviary
Bat sculptures at Gondwana Rainforest Sanctuary
Wallaby at Gondwana Rainforest Sanctuary

The Sanctuary was created as a huge bird aviary with a range of display dioramas throughout and a series of outer and inner sculpted concrete panels artistically coated and sprayed to look like rock. The sanctuary featured many species of Australian birds, including fairy wrens, figbirds, bowerbirds, kingfishers, curlews, lorikeets, parrots, finches, pigeons, doves, geese, teals and cockatoos, among others of the land birds - as well as various species of waterfowl.

Australian mammals at the sanctuary included fruit bats, while marsupials included koalas, wallabies, pademelons, gliders (including squirrel gliders, sugar gliders and greater glider), as well as eastern quolls, bandicoots, possums and Tasmanian devils. There were also echidnas (one of two species of monotremes). Featured reptiles included Australian lizards and snakes, freshwater crocodiles, turtles and goannas. Other wildlife included frogs and fish, including the lungfish.

The Sanctuary included a series of educational displays outlining the creation of Australia through Gondwanan times and the evolution of Australian animals. A number of large animated Australian dinosaurs allowed visitors to step back into time.

At the same time as the wildlife sanctuary, there was a Butterfly House (later renamed as the Butterfly and Insect House), as well as canals and bridges and launches.

The Sanctuary went into receivership in 1993 due to the cost over runs[1] caused due to a lack of access to the site during a very wet construction period. In January, 1998, Gondwana Rainforest Sanctuary was closed down and the animals relocated. A rainforest walk and green space is all that now remains.[2] In April, 1998, the Butterfly and Insect House was renamed as South Bank Wildlife Sanctuary, with the introduction of other wildlife.[3]

In the latter half of 2005, the South Bank Wildlife Sanctuary was closed and dismantled and an office and retail store were built on the South Bank Wildlife Sanctuary's former location. Also gone from the South Bank Parklands are the canals, bridges and launches.


  1. ^ "Queensland Parliament" (PDF). Queensland Parliament Hansard. 3 December 1993. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Visit Brisbane map of South Bank". Visit Brisbane. Archived from the original on February 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Hopes High On Wildlife". Southern News. Brisbane, Australia. 16 April 1998. p. 3. Retrieved 21 May 2014.

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Coordinates: 27°28′45.3″S 153°01′25.3″E / 27.479250°S 153.023694°E / -27.479250; 153.023694