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Published August 17th 2017
Update September 2nd 2018
From September 2018 Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary is now open daily.
Walk with the animals
Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary in the Adelaide Hills is Reopening
Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary is a local treasure - a South Australian attraction developed by Dr John Wamsley from 1969, and opened to the public in 1985. The sanctuary was a purpose built home for Australian wildlife and plants in the Adelaide Hills, and all feral plants and animals were ruthlessly eradicated to protect the native flora and fauna.
Unfortunately, despite the popularity of this wildlife retreat in Mylor, commercial success eluded the sanctuary even after a series of different owners. After Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary closed in 2014 the sanctuary lay abandoned and derelict. Finally in 2017 it was purchased by a West Australian couple from Peel Zoo, who aim to revitalise and reopen Warrawong for the public of South Australia.
New owners David Cobbold and Narelle MacPherson face an enormous task in restoring this iconic Adelaide attraction. Storms, erosion and other damage to this man made ecosystem have created a monumental task to restore the derelict landscape to how it once was. Fallen trees caused safety issues, and many design features have blurred into the natural landscape. The accommodation cabins have also suffered badly with the passage of time.
The Lake Supports a Huge Range of Wildlife Including Frogs
Warrawong was designed to a plan. Grasslands encouraged kangaroos and wallabies to graze, while rainforest, scrublands and tall forests provided homes for many other species of animals and birds. Platypus roamed in Warrawong's lake, following water channels through swamp and wetlands even as far as the cafe. This was encouraged by the ecosystem design, with limestone lining the water channels to create the right conditions for the crustaceans that platypus feed on.
Volunteers at Work Repairing the Damage to Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary
There will be a tremendous amount of work to restore Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary to what it once was. But the enthusiasm of owners David and Narelle is infectious. They have rapidly built up a following of 10,000 animal lovers on their Facebook page, and mobilised them to help reopen the sanctuary.
Volunteers at the Media Conference Announcing the Crowdfunding Campaign
At a working bee more than 300 volunteers came to Warrawong in the Adelaide Hills. They spent the day cleaning up debris and helping to tidy the site. Some of the accommodation cabins are now almost ready to use, water channels were cleared, and rubbish removed from paths. There's still much to do, but it was an inspiring start.
Owners Narelle and David Announce a Crowdfunding Campaign to Buy Warrawong Lake
David and Narelle told volunteers at the working bee that they face a huge challenge. The lake which was once a part of Warrawong was not part of their purchase. It's a real problem, as the lake provides life to the ecosystem of the sanctuary through its tributaries. The lake must be bought back to bring Warrawong back to life as an iconic South Australian attraction.
Do You Want to Walk With a Wallaby or Meet Other Wildlife?
While the crowdfunding appeal rolls on, more working bees are planned at Warrawong. I went to the first working bee and it was an awesome experience. There were people everywhere, generously giving their time for the animals at Warrawong. Everyone had a smile on their face as they worked, knowing that they were doing their bit to rescue this wonderful South Australian attraction. There were fun things to do for people of all ages: I saw families with young children and retirees all happily working together.
Can you find it in your heart to help re-open Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary? Stay in touch with the story by following the Warrawong team on Facebook. Make a generous donation to their crowdfunding campaign on Gofundme. Or volunteer - come along to this beautiful place at Mylor in the Adelaide Hills and lend a hand. You will be glad you did.
Please Help Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary on its Path to Recovery
Great article. Warrawong was a great place once. I went on an evening walk 15yrs ago, with all sorts of native critters r7nnkng everywhere in the dim dusk light. Magical, or it was, before the later owners (look it up) run Warrawong into the ground.