Wildlife Land Trust / Sanctuaries / NSW / Wayilahr

Margaret and Peter Hall are the owners of Wayilahr, a sanctuary situated in Wilsons Creek, approximately 13km west of Mullumbimby, NSW. Margaret and Peter recently purchased the property with the intent to maintain it as a wildlife sanctuary. They plan to transition the property’s unmaintained macadamia plantation into rainforest, and are currently managing weeds on the property. Margaret is a member of WIRES, and intends to commence wildlife rehabilitation on the sanctuary in the future. The property is additionally registered with Land for Wildlife.

Wayilahr covers 15.13 hectares and consists of mixed North Coast Subtropical Rainforest, North Coast Wet Sclerophyll Forest and North Coast Dry Sclerophyll Forest.

Wildlife known to inhabit the sanctuary includes swamp wallabies (Wallabia bicolor), koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) and red-necked pademelons (Thylogale thetis). The property also houses a diverse array of birdlife including yellow-tailed black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus), satin bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus), Wompoo fruit doves (Ptilinopus magnificus), marbled frogmouths (Podargus ocellatus) and wedge-tailed eagles (Aquila audax).

This sanctuary is featured in Wildlife Lands 21!

As we pondered on a name for our new home, we found a feather formerly belonging to a yellow-tailed black cockatoo impaled in our front grassed area and so Wayilahr (the Arakwal/Bundjalung name) got the nod! We’d recently arrived from Sydney to take over the 15 hectare property and then, as now, we realised just how little we knew. However, with good intentions and with the knowledge that not everything would work we started, mainly weeding in the first instance as previous owners had rather differing priorities. 

We knew we’d bought a place with high rainfall but we were taken by surprise by the growth of both our early plantings and the weeds. Our koala food trees reached 2 metres within months, however there was commensurate growth in woody weeds (lantana, privet and tobacco), vines (madeira, moth and  dutchman’s pipe) and the camphor laurels appeared to be spreading in front of our eyes. We have 7 clear acres of landscaped gardens surrounded by bush and reclaimed old macadamias with the property heading up behind us to Goonengery National Park and views across the valley to Mt Jerusalem National Park. We are indeed in a biodiversity hotspot and our aims to control the spread and then eradicate weeds and create a wildlife sanctuary have become strong motivating factors in our bush regeneration decision-making and work. 

We still pinch ourselves every day as we can’t believe we’ve finally made the break from the ‘big smoke’ and become all-consumed by this exciting venture. What makes it all so special for us? The river mist, the evening light on the bluff across the valley, the floral species we’ve found (many of which were on our planting ‘wish list’), the bird songs and the red-necked pademelons, echidnas and goannas that have allowed us to share this marvellous place. All that and the fact that we now believe we can make a difference.