Griffith University’s N82 Building: A Green Oasis Inspired by Toohey Forest

Construction is on the horizon for a groundbreaking addition to Griffith University’s Nathan campus, a structure poised to redefine the campus landscape. The new N82 building is designed with a strong emphasis on sustainability and inclusivity, drawing inspiration from the natural beauty of the nearby Toohey Forest.

To earn a prestigious five-star Green Star Building V1 rating, the project also aspires to set new standards in responsible construction and procurement.

The N82 building is slated to become a campus centrepiece, distinguished by a central outdoor atrium created through a series of elevated terraces. The facility is set to introduce a host of innovative features, with a special focus on catering to a diverse range of needs.

The building’s internal colour palette will mirror the vibrant fauna and flora of the forest, offering a serene and harmonious environment for its occupants.

Toohey Forest
Photo Credit: Toohey Forest/Google Maps

Griffith University’s Chief Operating Officer, Peter Bryant, is at the forefront of this visionary project.

Inclusivity at its Core 

Of particular note is the inclusion of a Changing Places facility on the ground level, specially designed to accommodate individuals living with disabilities. This facility will boast essential amenities such as a hoist, a change bed, and an accessible toilet. 

Beyond accessibility, the N82 building will encompass formal and informal teaching spaces, comfortable lounge areas, and integrated teaching spaces seamlessly merging with research and staff accommodation.

A Shared Commitment

In an exciting collaboration, the N82 project team is partnering with Griffith University’s engineering academics to propose the installation of geotechnical and structural real-time sensing into the building. These sensors will measure critical data, including movement, deflection, and groundwater fluctuations, further enhancing the building’s functionality.

Jerome Johnson, General Manager Construction Queensland/Northern Territory at Lendlease, expressed their enthusiasm for partnering with Griffith University on this project. Beyond construction, the collaboration reflects a shared commitment to enhancing the educational experience for students, staff, and the research community.

Scheduled for completion in 2026, N28 will undoubtedly stand as a shining example of what can be achieved when nature, technology, and academia converge in harmonious synergy.

Published 4-Jan-2024

Uncovering History: Toohey Forest’s Hidden Past

Toohey Forest, a tranquil retreat known for its ecological significance and scenic beauty, was the site of a significant discovery of artefacts in the late 19th century. Over one hundred years later, a new round of efforts are being made to uncover the story behind that discovery.

The Indigenous Significance

Toohey Forest, a part of the Brisbane area known as Meanjin to the Turrbal and Yuggera Peoples, is rich in Indigenous history. This land was home to abundant natural resources and served as a hub for traditional activities. From hunting and crafting using the local fauna to spiritual and ceremonial practices, the forest was integral to the Indigenous way of life. 

Even in the post-European settlement era, indigenous people continued their traditional practices in the forest, albeit with increasing challenges due to displacement.

The Discovery by George Thomas McDonald

In the late 19th century, a significant discovery was made by George Thomas McDonald, a surveyor and farmer. While exploring Toohey Forest, McDonald stumbled upon a cave that housed a collection of ochre-painted human bones, alongside stone and shell knives. 

Mr McDonald, who was born in Scotland in 1835 and later settled in Brisbane, played a pivotal role in bringing these historical pieces to light. He passed away on 29 Jan 1915  in Wynnum at the age of 79. 

Since then, the artifacts have been carefully preserved and later housed at the Queensland Museum.

Recent Developments and Research

Fast forward to the 21st century, and these artefacts have once again sparked interest. The Annerley Stephens History Group is leading the charge and recently organised a conference to delve deeper into the nature and history of the artefacts.

The event aimed to shed light on the local history, with a focus on the First Nations’ heritage. A key aspect of the conference was to discuss the significance of these artefacts and their connection to the local Indigenous people. 

Annerley Stephens History Group
Photo Credit: Annerley Stephens History Group

With the consent of Aboriginal elders, a thorough examination of these artefacts has gotten underway to determine their age and deeper historical context.

Toohey Forest Today

Today, Toohey Forest stands as a testament to Brisbane’s rich and diverse history. It is not only a natural sanctuary but also a bridge connecting the present to the past. The discovery of these artefacts has opened a new chapter in understanding the Indigenous heritage of the area, offering insights into the lives and practices of Australia’s First Peoples. 

As research continues, Toohey Forest is poised to reveal more of its hidden stories, enriching our understanding of the land and its original inhabitants.

Published 14-Nov-2023

Some Toohey Forest Tracks to Be Closed for Restoration Works

Restoration works on Bloodwood and Tallowwood tracks at Toohey Forest will be underway soon, temporarily closing the sites for visitors.

From early March 2023 until April 2023, access to these tracks will not be available so frequent visitors to Bloodwood and Tallowwood tracks must find alternative routes.

According to Council, the restoration works are necessary as the tracks have had damage sustained due to the severe weather event in February 2022. Repair work, patching, and reinstatement of the drainage features are expected for this project.  

Toohey Forest
Photo Credit: CrSteveGriffiths/Facebook

Bloodwood track, spanning 500 metres, is a fire road climb that leads to Isabella St in Tarragindi, which is the entrance of the Tallowood track, spanning 800 metres. This then leads up to the Toohey Ridge track. It is often used by hikers who love the challenge of the climb but still prefer these tracks because it’s easy to follow. 

Along the way, locals may spot koalas, possums and gliders, as well as owls, kookaburras and fairy wrens as the Toohey Forest is home to over 100 species. Bikers, however, are not allowed on these tracks to ensure the safety of the hikers. 

Toohey Forest was acquired by Council in 1945 from the family of James Toohey, an Irishman who bought these lands in 1872. 

Experts Study Caterpillar Venom in Toohey Forest for Medicines, Pest Control

Doratifera vulnerans is a caterpillar found in Toohey Forest that has venomous spines that produce a sharp and burning pain to anything it stings. Researchers at the University of Queensland have been studying its potential for biotechnology in the fields of medicine and pest control.

According to Dr Andrew Walker of UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, scientists previously had no clues as to what was in the venom. Now, they were able to unlock a source showing peptides with “151 different protein-based toxins from 59 different families.” 

The researchers were able to synthesize 13 of these protein-based toxins to learn their blueprint and sequences. 

“This will enable us to make the toxins and test them in diverse ways,” Dr Walker said.  “Our research unlocks a novel source of bioactive peptides that may have some use in medicine, through an ability to influence biological processes and promote good health.”  

Toohey Forest
Photo Credit: University of Queensland

In its initial studies, Dr Walker’s team learned that the venom’s potency could be high enough to kill bacteria from nematode parasites that attack livestock or cause diseases in animals. 

But the researchers still need to learn what each of the toxins does so the experts could determine how they might be used. 

​​The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S.

The Doratifera vulnerans is a binomial name that means “bearer of gifts of wounds.” Also known as the Eucalypt cup moth, this native Brisbane caterpillar has a hard, smooth oval or pear-shaped cocoon (cup) resembling a eucalypt “gumnut.” 

According to the Toohey Forest Environmental Educational Center, these caterpillars are among the few venomous caterpillars. They love to eat Eucalyptus leaves but they are easy prey for birds, wasps, flies, and midges.  

Toohey Forest Illegal Biking Trails Re-Opened Despite Council Blocks

A group of environmentalists has claimed that mountain bikers have been cutting through logs and illegal biking trails blocked off by Brisbane City Council to protect parks and nature reserves like Toohey Forest in Nathan have been re-opened without permission. This has sparked another debate on whether Councils’ new Off-Road Cycling Strategy will be able to stop people from using unauthorised biking tracks.

In December 2020, Council released the draft for the Off-Road Cycling Strategy, which will allow mountain bikers access to some of the protected nature sites whilst decreasing the construction of illegal trails.  

“The protection of significant habitat and wildlife corridors is a very important component of this project,” Council stated. “The early planning process reviewed bushland reserves and parks across the city for suitable locations for off-road cycling facilities. Suitable low-impact locations, where the natural environment can be preserved include existing fire trails and shared use of other tracks. Unvegetated areas were also explored for supporting facilities such as skills tracks.”

Over 4,000 respondents answered the Council’s draft survey. Whilst this strategy is under review, Toohey Forest Wildlife discovered the re-opened trails.  

Photo Credit: Toohey Forest Wildlife

“Brisbane City Council spent time and money shutting down this trail only to have someone deliberately open it up again,” frustrated advocates wrote on Facebook.

Source: Facebook/TooheyForest Wildlife

According to members of Toohey Forest Wildlife, Council should have drafted a conservation strategy first before opening the reserves and nature sites to human impact.

On the other hand, Brisbane Off-Road Riders Alliance(BORRA) said that they support the strategy and are open to working with conservationists. In a petition, Tarragindi local Dan Crawford, who is also BORRA’s president, called on the Council to expedite the confirmation of the Off-Road Cycling Strategy to best stop the unauthorised trails. He also pointed out that the biking community is growing and could have significant economic value to local businesses. 

“It is globally accepted that the most effective way to stop unauthorised trail building is to have a well-managed authorised network which is embraced and cared for by the community,” Mr Crawford said. 

Calling out the claim that there are “hundreds of unauthorised trails being accessed freely and without consequence in Toohey Forest every day,” Mr Crawford also explained that the claim just isn’t possible.

“Toohey Forest is 260 Hectares.  If there were 100’s of trails, it would be the largest  trail network in Australia by far.  I’ve been to many destination trail networks in Australia and I’m yet to find one that has 100’s of trails.  By contrast, the most famous trail network in Australia (Blue Derby) has 34 trails.  There are no unauthorised trails getting built at Derby.  Zero,” Mr Crawford said.

Popular Toohey Forest Walking Tracks to Reconnect with Nature

Considered as one of the few remaining “green lungs” in Brisbane, Toohey Forest is not just home to a number of native plants and animals, but it also boasts an extensive network of both paved and unpaved walking tracks. 

Photo credit: Brisbane City Council /

Toohey Forest was named after James Toohey, an Irish-born who amassed wealth in the California gold rush and bought this land in 1870. His descendants held the land until the Council acquired it in 1945. 

Photo credit: Brisbane City Council /

Spanning approximately 260 hectares and just 10 kilometres from the CBD, Toohey Forest offers a perfect place for a family outing with a number of barbecue and picnic areas: Gertrude Petty Place, Mt Gravatt Outlook picnic area, and Mayne Estate and Toohey picnic area. 

Photo credit: Brisbane City Council / Flickr

There are 30 intertwining cycling and walking tracks of varying difficulty spread throughout the forest, with the longest track just 3.5 kilometres long and the shortest being just 250 metres. 

Photo credit: Brisbane City Council / Flickr

Toohey Forest ideed has some of the best spots for walking, biking, picnicking or just spending a lazy afternoon. Needless to say, you will be rewarded with marvelous views of Brisbane and its surrounding suburbs from Mt Gravatt Outlook.

Photo credit: Brisbane City Council / Flickr
Toohey Forest Walking Tracks
Photo credit: Brisbane City Council / Flickr
Toohey Forest Walking Tracks
Photo credit: Brisbane City Council / Flickr

Popular Toohey Forest easy to moderate walking tracks

  • Nathan Ridge Track – Prepare to spend about one hour walking through this  paved 3.5km track that leads from Toohey Ridge and connects to the Griffith University Campus ring road.
  • Toohey Ridge Track – Rated as easy walking, this three-kilometre track runs from the Toohey picnic area along the ridgeline and leads to the South East Freeway.
Toohey Forest Walking Tracks
Photo credit: Brisbane City Council / Flickr
  • Sandstone Circuit – This 750-metre short track begins at the Toohey picnic area then follows a winding path through the forest. This is a moderate walking track with bench seats available to take a breather along the way.
  • Toohey Mountain Track -The journey along this 1.5km track starts from Mayne Estate picnic area and follows the ridge southwards to Pegg’s Lookout.
  • Summit Track – Summit track begins at Gertrude Petty Place then leads to Mt Gravatt Outlook. It stretches 1.2 kilometres and will take about 40 minutes to traverse it by walking.

Don’t forget to prepare for slippery and rough tracks by wearing protective footwear. Also, wear a hat and loose, long sleeved shirts and trousers to avoid scratches, bites, and sunburn. 

Toohey Forest in Tarragindi Continues To Show a Spike in Wildlife Sightings

Toohey Forest in Tarragindi is known for an abundance of wildlife. Just recently, a red necked wallaby was spotted, which has given local bush care groups more life that the wildlife in the urban part of Brisbane is still apparent.

This is not actually the first time that a wallaby was spotted in this part of the city. According to an expert, the wallabies seem to be coming back just like the koalas. In August of this year, the Brisbane City Council has put up warning signs on Toohey Road following a koala sighting, which was seen by a local resident at the northern part of the Toohey Forest Park. The signs give warning to motorists to slow down especially that the mating season for koalas has begun.

With these recent developments, bush care groups are very thrilled to see the return of the wildlife even if Tarragindi is only 8 km from the CBD, it still shows that the area is still fit for wildlife and this makes a lot of locals very happy.

According to Councilor Steve Griffiths of the Moorooka Ward, some council workers were able to take a photo of the red necked wallaby in the northern part of the forest.

The sighting of a red necked wallaby in the forest has reignited the theory of a small colony living in the forest. About 12 months ago, a Griffith University student found a dead red necked wallaby in the forest. This provides encouragement to the locals that the wildlife in the area remains rich.

To make things even better, the council also found ten koalas in the forest just recently when a koala sniffer dog detected six females and four males.

Given these recent sightings, koalas and red necked wallabies seem to have found a home in the forest and it is very likely that they are reproducing. Good news, indeed.