Saving Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary

Do you have memories from childhood about visiting an animal park, national park or wildlife sanctuary? It is a big part of my memories, as our parents took us on many outings in nature both locally, as well as holidays across Australia and overseas – such as the time we traveled Tasmania in our van for weeks on end, traversing walking trails in the rain, climbing mountains and spotting platypus in the driving rain in the middle of the night at a trout farm. We may have all caught colds after this adventure, but what an adventure it was! Or the time we drove across New Zealand, perched precariously atop curvy mountain roads, singing to Split Enz as we marveled at the natural beauty of this remarkable place. I have many memories of less dramatic moments too, taking walks and spotting wildlife locally with my own children; the time an echidna wandered into our front yard, and the many koalas that share our beautiful local gum trees with us that I see on my daily walks. If you grew up in Adelaide, you may have memories of Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary. A national treasure, started by Dr Wamsley and his wife many decades ago, this is a very special place indeed, and the only place in South Australia you can find platypus, without having to search for them in a trout farm in the middle of the night. However a few years ago the sanctuary was abandoned. Animals were left locked in and the place gradually started to go downhill.

Recently we helped 347 other passionate South Australians at a working bee to help start to bring this place back to life. Narelle MacPherson and David Cobbold, the new owners of Warrawong Sanctuary, are overwhelmed by the support they’ve received since arriving from Western Australia. Narelle said, “The people of South Australia have been so welcoming to our family. Our kids, Britt and Josh, actually asked why we didn’t move here sooner.” David said, “When we bought Warrawong, we know it was a significant part of Australia’s conservation history. What we didn’t know was how important it is to the people of South Australia. They just love it.”
The couple is hoping that love translates to financial support, and launched their crowd funding campaign on the day of the Busy Bee. Narelle explained, “It’s become very clear to us that Warrawong needs water. The ecosystem here is slowly collapsing and that means big trouble for the animals, especially the platypus.” David added, “The Sanctuary used to be about 85 acres across 9 properties. But, when Dr Wamsley was forced to sell, property developers just carved it up and sold it off, leaving Warrawong’s lake on the neighbour’s property.”
David and Narelle hope to raise $490,000 to buy back the lake and the 8 acres of land it sits on. In so doing, they would secure a water supply for the Sanctuary in perpetuity. The couple say that they are loving having the original founders, John and Proo involved. “They’ve sacrificed so much for conservation over the years. It’s nice to revive Warrawong because it also honours them. Wamsley designed Warrawong as an ecosystem, but, without the lake, it all falls down. We can’t allow that to happen” explains David.
The Busy Bee marked the start of a 5 week crowd funding campaign for Warrawong Sanctuary. With no family or network of friends in South Australia, Narelle and David are asking us all to spread the word.
“We have absolute faith in the people of South Australia”, David proclaimed. “They tried to save Warrawong 4 years ago. They’ve voted with their feet to support us now. People want Warrawong to succeed”.
“Buy back the lake, bring back the life. It’s that simple”, Narelle concluded.
Narelle and David are asking people to support the Sanctuary’s campaign, and learn more about the water issue, by visiting the Go Fund Me site:
Find out more about how to get involved on the Warrawong website
Sharing the campaign on social media is just as helpful as donating. Please get involved as every small thing helps secure this significant conservation park which is important to all of us.

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Hello, I'm Helen

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