Wirrimbirra Sanctuary | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Wirrimbirra Sanctuary

Item details

Name of item: Wirrimbirra Sanctuary
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Natural
Category: Flora species site or area
Location: Lat: -34.2644874407 Long: 150.5795871430
Primary address: Hume Highway, Bargo, NSW 2574
Local govt. area: Wollondilly
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tharawal
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT132 DP130897
LOT18 DP751250
LOT19 DP751250
PORTION203 DP751250
LOT1 DP789005
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Hume HighwayBargoWollondilly  Primary Address
Hume HighwayTahmoorWollondilly  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
National Trust of Australia (NSW)Community Group 

Statement of significance:

Wirrimbirra is significant for its role in the development of the conservation movement in NSW; its association with key persons who pioneered the conservation debate; as a natural area with a rich and diverse flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species; as a recreation and social area; as a historic site containing relics and cultural items, as well as being associated with the pioneering expeditions to the Southern Highlands; as an area containing extensive plantings of native plants including rare and endangered species, and as an area which encouraged investigations into the growing and propagation of native plants. (Tait,1997)
Date significance updated: 30 Jun 00
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Builder/Maker: Stead Foundation
Construction years: 1962-
Physical description: Wirrimbirra Sanctuary covers is an area of about 95 ha. Located about halfway between the Bargo River Crossing and the village of Bargo on the Hume Highway 100 km south of Sydney. Wirrimbirra preserves a part of the original 'Bargo Brush' which was of considerable historical importance in the problems which faced the settlement of the Argyle or Southern Tablelands during the early half of the 1800s.

The Sanctuary contains rich and diverse plantings of native plants in formalised gardens, which were developed to provide areas of representative native plans for education and research purposes. Within the 43 established gardens, there are over 1800 native plants representing a resource base for the study of native flora.

The Administration Area contains all the buildings, including two rangers' cottages, an office and bookshop, a display area and amenities. A native plant nursery provides plants for the property and for sale.

Within the Sanctuary there is the capacity to accommodate groups of up to 44 people in 5 bunk style cabins in the Environmental Studies Centre. (An Introduction to Wirrimbirra Sanctuary, 1991)
Modifications and dates: 2008: upgrading of pathways, services on site (National Trust 2008, 11).

National trust Magazine NSW November 2008-January 2009:
Wirrimbirra: $15,281 was allocated to assist with the pathways, services and routine maintenance of the site.
Current use: Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, Education Centre, Native Plant Nursery
Former use: Flora and Fauna Sanctuary

History

Historical notes: Land on which the Sanctuary is situated was acquired in a number of ways. In 1962, a Sydney Accountant, Carmen Coleman, discovered this interesting area of remnant bush where Europeans at Bargo made the first sightings of koala and lyrebird. Carmen Coleman donated the parcel of land at Bargo to the David G. Stead Memorial Wildlife Research Foundation, which was established in 1963 to perpetuate the memory of David Stead who was a pioneer of nature conservation in Australia. The National Trust began its association with the Stead Foundation and the Sanctuary in 1963.

Wirrimbirra is an intact remnant example of Bargo Bush, which once covered an extensive area south of Sydney.

Part of Wirrimbirra is freehold, which is now owned by the National Trust, and the balance is Crown Land with the National Trust 'trustee for the conservation and study of flora and fauna'. The Stead Foundation gave the freehold land to the Trust together with buildings and improvements in 1965, and at the same time arranged for the Crown leases to be transferred to the Trust. The Sanctuary was further extended in 1975. In 1989 the National Trust purchased a narrow strip of land on the southern boundary to improve fire protection for the Field Studies Centre which had been opened in 1971.

Wirrimbirra Native Plant Nursery is registered as a Nursery under the NSW Horticultural Stock and Nursery Act, and a white waratah has its varietal name registered as 'Wirrimbirra White' and is the
National Variety Register in Canberra.

The Sanctuary contains rich and diverse plantings of native plants in formalised gardens, which were developed to provide areas of representative native plans for education and research purposes. Within the 43 established gardens, there are over 1800 native plants representing a resource base for the study of native flora.

The Field Studies Centre has proved to be the most popular part of the Sanctuary and is recognised as a leading institution in environmental education, both locally and overseas.(Greenup, Conservation and Business Plan for Wirrimbirra Sanctuary Oct 1992).

Wirrimbirra was gifted to the NTA (NSW) by the David G.Stead Memorial WIldlife Research Foundation in 1965. The property was leased to the Foundation for several terms up to the present time. Recently a small portion was separately leased to the Australian Native Dog Conservation Society. A comprehensive Conservation Agreement with the Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW Government) has been developed for the Wirrimburra Sanctuary to ensure that the native vegetation is managed and conserved in perpetuity (NTA, 2013).

In late 2015 the National Trust of Australia (NSW) classified the Bargo Gorge Landscape Conservation Area (Quint, 2015, 3).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Conserving and protecting natural features-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Natural - pre European settlement vegetation-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Regional flora and fauna-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant Places: How are significant places marked in the landscape of Parramatta by, or for, different groups?-Monuments and Sites
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and countryside of rural charm-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal 1820s-1850s land grants-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to tourist-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going bushwalking-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting lookouts and places of natural beauty-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to a wildlife sancutary-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thistle Stead, conservationist and author-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Significant for its role in the development of the conservation movement in NSW, and for its association with key persons who who pioneered conservation debate, the evolution of the conservation movement in Australia and environmental education in NSW. . Also associated with pioneering expeditions which led to the settlement of the Southern Highlands Region and the first written report of the koala and lyrebird in Australia. (Greenup, Conservation Plan for Wirrimbirra Sanctuary 1992)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Sanctuary forms part of a link between the large natural areas of the Metropolitan and Warragamba Catchments and the Greater Blue Mountains and is therefore significant as a corridor for wildlife, particularly as areas immediately to the South of the Sanctuary have been cleared. As a remnant of the Bargo Bush, it contains a rich and diverse flora and fauna habitat including a number of rare or threatened species. It contains extensive plantings of native plants, including rare and endangered flora.

(L Greenup – Conservation Plan for Wirrimbirra Sanctuary 1992)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
It is of social significance for its promotion, education and an example to the community with respect to practical protection of Australia’s flora and fauna, and research into management and preservation of indigenous wildlife. Education of young people in the endless facets of the natural and man made environment. (Introduction to Wirrimbirra Sanctuary, 1991)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Wirrimbirra is a leaning centre for the education of students in environmental matters through an 'outdoor' classroom, designed to represent a variety of plant communities ranging from aquatic plants to tree tops and their related communities. This specialised classroom, together with nature trails, natural Bargo Brush and a nursery, provide valuable lessons for students. The Centre is recognised
as a leading institution in environmental education. (Greenup, Conservation and Business Plan for Wirrimbirra 1992)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The importance of Wirrimbirra as a centre for environmental education was recognised by the visit in 1992 of specialists from the OECD as part of an international research project on policy and practice
in environmental education. Wirrimbirra holds an enviable reputation in promoting the environmental message through education and research. (Tait, Wirrimbirra, The Next Generation 1997)
Integrity/Intactness: One of the few forested areas remaining on the flat plateau of the Bargo area.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0150801 Mar 02 541452
Local Environmental Plan  23 Aug 91   
Register of the National Estate 330221 Oct 80   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAccommodation Homepage2007Wirrimbirra Sanctuary View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Wirrimbirra Sanctuary View detail
WrittenCantrell, John2008Wirrimbirra Opens New Dingo Sanctuary
WrittenGreenup L1992Conservation and Business Plan for Wirrimbirra Sanctuary
WrittenI Tait1997Wirrimbirra - The Next Generation
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)2013Sale of Wirrimbirra Sanctuary, Bargo - letter to Trust Members
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)20082008 Annual Report
WrittenStead Foundation1991An Introduction to Wirrimbirra Sanctuary
WrittenThe David G.Stead Memorial Wild Life Research Foundation of Australia2014The David G.Stead Memorial Wild Life Research Foundation of Australia - Newsletter March 2014
TourismTourism NSW2007Wirrimbirra Sanctuary View detail
TourismTourism NSW2007Wirrimbirra Sanctuary View detail
WrittenWebb, Joan1998Thistle Y. Harris (a biography of Thistle Yolette Stead)

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5051261
File number: EF14/5872; S90/7308/001


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