Barbara Nanshe is the owner of Dragons Land, a property situated in Martins Creek, approximately 50km northwest of Newcastle, New South Wales. The property is a recreational site and dedicated wildlife sanctuary, and it is Barbara’s intention to maintain it as a habitat for native species. Over the past 18 years, Barbara has planted 5,000 native species to rehabilitate habitat and support native species. She has previously received two grants from Hunter Land and Water to suppress lantana and plant native species, and has plans to further conserve the property with a permanent conservation covenant. She is also considering offering the property as a release site for rehabilitated local wildlife.
The property spans approximately 22 hectares and consists of native grassland interspersed with old-growth eucalypt stands. It also houses an endangered ecological community of dry rainforest species which occur in gullies leading to ephemeral creeks on the property. The property features one very large dam, one shallow dam and two smaller dams, all of which are low due to prolonged drought. Some areas of Dragons Land are in need of restoration, for example the boundary fences are in disrepair and infestations of lantana cover around one-third of the property.
Vegetation consist of a wide range of native species including prickly plants such as Maclura, large stands of Australian cheesewood (Pittosporum undulatum), orange thorn (Pittosporum multiflorum), themeda grasslands and swampy areas populated by grey ironbark (Eucalyptus paniculata), grey gum (E. canaliculata), grey box (E. moluccana), white mahogany (E. acmenoides), spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) and forest she-oak (Allocasuarina torulosa). The property also has one very old Tallowwood (E. microcorys) growing in a gully, possibly a remnant from a stand used for timber. The dry rainforest community consists of buttressed tree species including three species of figs (Ficus spp.), planchonella, strebulus, grey myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia), shatterwood (B. sciadophora) and many more.
An abundance of wildlife is found throughout the property including eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus), swamp wallabies (Wallabia bicolor), brushtail (Trichosurus vulpecula) and ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) possums, eastern pygmy possums (Cercartetus nanus), spotted-tailed quolls (Dasyurus maculatus), brush-tailed phascogales (Phascogale tapoatafa), antechinus, yellow-bellied gliders (Petaurus australis), broad-toothed rats (Mastacomys fuscus), long-nosed bandicoots (Perameles nasuta) and a colony of up to five short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus). Two koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) have also been spotted on the property. A range of reptiles are also present including three species of python, various snakes, and lace monitors (Varanus varius).
Hundreds of native birds are also present including three pairs of regent bowerbirds, a colony of 20 endangered southern emu-wrens (Stipiturus malachurus) and a colony of 30 red-browed finches (Neochmia temporalis). Also present are black-shouldered kites (Elanus axillaris), eagles, grey goshawks (Accipiter novaehollandiae), peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), nankeen kestrels (Falco cenchroides), superb fairy- wrens (Malurus cyaneus), eastern yellow robins (Eopsaltria australis), green catbirds (Ailuroedus crassirostris), brush turkeys (Alectura lathami), little wattlebirds (Anthochaera chrysoptera), Lewin’s honeyeaters (Meliphaga lewinii), button-quails (Turnix sp.), Wompoo fruit doves (Ptilinopus magnificus) and other rainforest birds.