November 10, 2015 Mammals No Comments

(Petrogale penicillata)

John Edward Grey first described this wallaby and provided its scientific name in 1827 from a drawing by Lewin from what was then known as New Holland.

Brush-tailed rock wallaby. Photo © WPSQ

Brush-tailed rock wallaby.
Photo © Wildlife Queensland

The brush-tailed rock wallaby once lived in scattered colonies in the rugged rocky country of south-eastern Australia. It was found along the Great Dividing Range for 2500 km from the Grampians in western Victoria to Nanango in south-east Queensland, with outlying populations in the coastal valleys and ranges to the east of the Divide, and the slopes and plains as far west as Cobar, NSW, and north to Nanango, 100 km NW of Brisbane.

Numbers have declined significantly in the west and south of its former range and populations are increasingly isolated.


  • Small agile wallaby with black stripe from forehead to back of head and a pale cheek stripe
  • Back fur grey to dark brown, shaded with red on the flanks and grey on the neck and shoulders
  • Chest and belly fur dark to light brown sometimes with a white blaze on the chest
  • Long tail darker and bushier towards tip
  • Males about 55 cm long (tails about 60 cm), females slightly shorter and tails slightly shorter
  • Male wallabies can weigh from 5.5kg to nearly 11kg, average about 8 kg.
  • Females weigh about 6kg but vary either side of that weight.


Scats are similar in size to brush-tailed possum scats but blacker, rougher textured and with pointed ends.

Brush-tailed rock wallaby habitat Photo © WPSQ

Brush-tailed rock wallaby habitat
Photo © Wildlife Queensland


  • Rocky escarpments, outcrops and cliffs
  • Particularly likes complex structures with fissures, caves and ledges that face north


Life history and family

  • Live about 5–10 years
  • Family groups consist of 2–5 adults with 1-2 juveniles
  • Young stay in the pouch for 6 months, weaning at 9 months
  • Juveniles follow mother for several months after leaving pouch.


  • Females mature at 1-2 years
  • Breed at any time of the year in the southern part of their range.
  • Dominant males associate and breed with up to four females


  • Browse on vegetation in and around rocky habitat
  • Eat grasses and forbs, plus foliage and fruits of shrubs and trees


  • Bask and shelter during the day in rock crevices, caves and overhangs
  • Active and foraging at night
  • Highly agile

Home range

Estimated 6–30ha


  • Populations declining throughout the western and southern areas of range
  • Other populations have become more isolated. Isolated populations in Queensland include a colony at the artificial Perseverance Dam near Crows Nest.

Distinct populations:

  • Northern group – south-east Queensland into north-east New South Wales (estimated 10 000–20 000 animals).
  • Central group – south of the Hunter River to south-eastern New South Wales (800–900)
  • Southern or Victorian – Snowy River National Park (<20)


In order of severity:

  • Foxes, feral cats and wild dogs
  • Habitat degradation and loss including weed invasion
  • Increasing urbanisation and intensification of agriculture and grazing in south-east Queensland.
  • Changes in fire regimes
  • Disease passed from feral cats (toxoplasmosis and hyatidosis)


Did you know?

Northern-most populations of brush-tailed rock wallabies in Queensland possibly interbreed to form a hybrid with Herbert’s rock wallaby in the upper Brisbane River Valley.


  • Southern group: critically endangered
  • New South Wales and Queensland populations: vulnerable


  • Helping the brush-tailed rock wallaby bounce back
    With the generous support of our donors, WPSQ’s Christmas 2018 Appeal raised $14,639 to help fund conservation efforts aimed at improving and increasing foraging habitat for a colony of brush-tailed rock wallaby in South East Queensland. Read more here.
  • WPSQ Toowoomba Branch and head office have campaigned to conserve the brush-tailed rock wallaby population at Perseverance Dam near Crows Nest, Queensland.

More information


Written by Wildlifeqld