Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Extinct
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
State Listing Status
SA: Listed as Endangered (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): June 2011 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Extinct (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Macropus greyi [232]
Family Macropodidae:Diprotodonta:Mammalia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Waterhouse, 1846
Infraspecies author  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map not available for this taxon.
Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Macropus greyi

Common name: Toolache Wallaby

The Toolache Wallaby was an elegant, slender animal. The general colour of this species was pale ashy-brown, slightly tinted with yellow on the back. The underside was a pale buff-yellow. The back of the ears and shoulders had a reddish tinge while the ear tips were blackish. Between the rump and the base of the tail the back was marked with about a dozen transverse bars which were alternately light and dark grey. The long slender tail was pale grey and became paler towards the tip which was almost white. The forearms and feet were pale fawn and contrasted starkly with the black hands and toes. There was a prominent black mark from the nose to the eye, bordered below by a white cheek-stripe which reached almost to the ear. There was a white mark above the eye (Flannery 1990d). Males had a head and body length of up to 810 mm and the females reached to 840 mm. Tail length was 730 mm for males and 710 mm for females (Smith & Robinson 2008).

At the time of European settlement the Toolache Wallaby appeared to occupy areas in south-eastern South Australia, from Lake Albert probably as far south as the southern coast, and eastwards to the adjacent far western part of Victoria. However, no modern specimens are known to have been collected from Victoria. The Toolache Wallaby had a much wider distribution in late Pleistocene times, approximately 14 000–20 000 years ago. Fossils have been recorded from north-western Tasmania, Hunter Island in Bass Strait, Kangaroo Island in South Australia, and the Mount Hamilton Lava Cave in Victoria (Flannery 1990d).

By 1910, populations had been reduced to a number of scattered colonies in the area enclosed by Robe, Kingston, and Beachport on the South Australian coast, and Naracoorte and Penola further to the east, near Mt Gambier. By 1924 only one small group was known to survive on Konetta Station, about halfway between Robe and Penola. An attempt was made to transfer some of the population to a sanctuary on Kangaroo Island, but this failed. The last known survivor died in captivity in Robe in 1939 (Flannery 1990d). An intensive survey conducted by the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service in 1975 and 1976 documented reliable reports by local naturalists of small remnant populations persisting form the 1950s to the early 1970s, but since then, there have been no verifiable reports of its existence (Smith & Robinson 2008).

The preferred habitat of the Toolache Wallaby was a dense, tall sedgeland and grass community that developed on the clay soils of plains between dune ridges. These areas were too wet in winter to carry Eucalypt cover. On poorer country the Toolache Wallaby seems to have been a fairly solitary animal, but on more productive grasslands it was gregarious, grazing and resting in groups (Flannery 1990d).

Although the Toolache Wallaby was hunted for its beautiful pelt and for sport, the biggest factor in its decline was the extensive opening up of its habitat that resulted from the drainage and clearing of native vegetation. Robinson and Young (1983) reported that swamps formed a significant part of its habitat and that most of them have now been drained in a series of schemes that commenced as early as 1862. They concluded that habitat destruction, including clearing of vegetation and drainage, was the major cause of the demise of the species. The animal survived only 85 years of European occupation. Any hope that remnant populations might survive was further diminished with a second period of land clearance in the 1950s. Finlayson (1955) considered the introduced European Fox (Vulpes vulpes) to be the sole factor in its extermination, but although the European Fox may have contributed to its demise, it cannot be blamed entirely for its extinction (Flannery 1990d).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Macropus greyi in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ps) [Internet].

Finlayson, H.H. (1963). The Red Centre. Sydney, NSW: Angus and Robertson.

Flannery, T. (1990d). Australia's vanishing mammals. Page(s) 61-66. Readers Digest Press.

Robinson, A.C. & M.C. Young (1983). The Toolache wallaby (Macropus greyi waterhouse). No. 54. Department of Environment and Planning, South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Smith, M.J. & A.C. Robinson (2008). Toolache Wallaby. In: Van Dyck, S. & R. Strahan, eds. Mammals of Australia, Third Edition. Sydney: Reed New Holland.

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Macropus greyi in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:12:36 +1000.