A Heritage Agreement for the greater good
David was delighted when his property was selected as a potential release site for Brush-tailed Bettongs.
Wirrah Binty; photo David Hackett
This is part of the ambitious Marna Banggara project that aims to restore the spectacular landscape by returning locally-extinct species to reinvigorate the ecological processes and improve the bushland’s health on the southern Yorke Peninsula. It is Australia’s first rewilding project in a working landscape, where conservation, agriculture and the community exist side-by-side. Woylies were chosen as the first of four species to be released because they are soil engineers, aerating the soil, improving water infiltration, cycling nutrients and spreading native seed.
David’s property, Wirrah Binty, has been subject to rigorous, long-term vegetation and soil health monitoring as part of the project and was assessed as one of the top five release sites because of its high biodiversity. However, it looks like woylies won’t be released on the property this year due to the project managers reducing the number of release sites. David hopes the property will be considered for later releases.
When he bought the property 21 years ago, he would not have imagined that it would be considered for such a project. At the time he was just looking for a 100 acre property on Yorke Peninsula.
“I always wanted my own little park and I’d been looking for a block for some time,” said David. “This block was beautiful. It was just a bigger slab of land than I anticipated.”
“It was part of a large farm that had been divided up and the smaller blocks had already sold. But this one, which was 2,300 acres, was of significance to the family and they didn’t want to split it up. They wanted to find the right person to look after it.”
It turned out that David had the right credentials, having worked for the National Parks and Wildlife Service!
When he bought it, he knew it was home to endangered Malleefowl and Western Whipbirds. Since then, Heath Monitors have been seen for the first time in over 30 years. Other rare plant species have been found too.
David has completed considerable conservation work on the property to ensure its continuing high biodiversity, including weed control, fox baiting and fence replacement.
He is pleased to receive a Revitalising Private Conservation grant which is being used for fencing: removing 1.5km of old fencing so that wildlife will be at less risk of entanglement and maintaining an existing 4 km fence to keep out sheep, motorbike riders and others who trespass to cut firewood. This will mean his HA is even better protected.
The first woylies are due any day now from their home in the southwest of Western Australia. Hopefully Wirrah Binty will be home to some soon too.