Wildlife Land Trust / Sanctuaries / VIC / Ngara

Colin Pidd and Marie Larkin are the owners of Ngara, a property located in Yanakie, situated approximately 18km south of Foster, Victoria. The property is a residence and the land is primarily used for recreation. Colin and Marie intend to revegetate the area with native plant species and create a sanctuary for native wildlife.

Ngara covers approximately 2.5 hectares and consists of lowland forest and native garden. The dominant vegetative species include eucalypts, tea trees (Leptospermum spp.), wattles (Acacia spp.) and banksias. The property is close to Wilsons Promontory National Park, and may serve as a habitat stepping stone for migrating wildlife.

Wildlife known to inhabit the sanctuary includes swamp wallabies (Wallabia bicolor), eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus), bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus), koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), brushtail (Trichosurus vulpecula) and ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) possums and bush rats (Rattus fuscipes). A variety of birdlife is also present including laughing kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae), white-bellied sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and other native species.

This sanctuary is featured in Wildlife Lands 20!

We never planned to buy this property, but as we drove down the dusty road unspoken dreams suddenly seemed to have real moment. It was what we saw but way more importantly it was what we felt – instantly and together.

We have been attached to this piece of the earth for four years now. We’ve been labourers, gardeners and learners. We’ve been archaeologists uncovering old garden beds and overgrown chook sheds. We’ve learned a lot of arboreal and flora preferences from generous locals. We’ve removed many English shrubs (I found that hard) replacing them with nearly 200 natives. 

We are learning more and more about the wildlife: on the property we’ve seen koalas, wombats, wallabies, echidnas, pygmy possums, tiger snakes… and an emu. There is an eyrie close by and two eagles soar daily, dancing on the thermals and hunting scurrying prey. Like many we’ve had to learn to be still to watch the birds. We had to learn to look. Amazing. AMAZING—it’s a roll call of splendour. To name just a few: crimson rosellas making the world theirs as only they can, blue wrens flitting with joy and colour, wattle birds who clearly think this is their property. Sweet surprising honeyeaters, so beautiful we commissioned a local artist to make us a beautiful stained glass window featuring one of our own. 

A lovely story of our intoxication with the land and the house: we bought the property because of its natural beauty and only on the first night of ownership did we realise we had water views. Black swans, pelicans, cranes, hooded plovers…

On an overgrown paddock we are building a human-sized nest using fallen branches (try doing that without making it look like a basket) not just for the aesthetic beauty but also as a hiding place for birds, native rats and all their friends. We are determined we will leave this Ngara in better shape than we found it. The previous owners set a very high standard to start us on our contribution to this patch of the earth and its friends. We have much to learn.