Bon Bon Station

Last updated: Friday 27 May, 2016

Location of Bon Bon Station Reserve in South Australia.

Established: 2008
Area: 216 700 ha
Location: 650km north-west of Adelaide
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It's hard to get your head around the size and scale of Bon Bon Station Reserve – an old sheep station south of Coober Pedy in South Australia.

Sturt's Desert Pea brightening the landscape. Photo Steve Heggie.
Sturt's Desert Pea brightening the landscape. Photo Steve Heggie.
At around 70km long and 30km across it's the size of Sydney, but that's where the similarities end.

Instead of suburbs and skyscrapers, its desert landscape is dotted with shimmering salt lakes, freshwater wetlands, stately Myall trees and stunningly beautiful expanses of Pearl Bluebush.

At its heart is Lake Puckridge, which fills up with water around once a decade and can run to seven metres deep.

Wildflowers at Bon Bon Reserve. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
Wildflowers at Bon Bon Reserve. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
The lake's wetlands system attracts large numbers of waders and waterbirds, including Black-winged Stilts, Red-necked Avocets and Grey Teals.

The reserve sits between the Great Victoria Desert and the large saltpan lakes of Eyre, Torrens and Gairdner, which are so big you can see them from space.

No wonder that when ecologist Dr Steve Morton first investigated the reserve he called this one of the biggest skies in Australia.

All this has been protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

What we’re doing

Volunteers Nicky Rolls and Saraan Finney with Reserve Managers Mike Chuk and Julia Harris.
Volunteers Nicky Rolls and Saraan Finney with Reserve Managers Mike Chuk and Julia Harris.
The sheep are gone from this former sheep station, but there are still areas where erosion needs to be controlled or repaired.

Almost the entire catchment of Lake Puckridge is nestled within Bon Bon, which enables us to protect and manage the tributaries and wetlands that feed into the lake.

Fire can be very damaging to the Mulga and Myall woodlands, so we're establishing strategic fire breaks and being 'fire-ready'.

Buffel grass is an emerging invasive weed that has the potential to significantly alter the landscape here. To prevent this happening, we're trying hard to contain and minimise its spread.

Feral predators and rabbits are an ever-present threat needing management, particularly after high rainfall.

Wombats

How does a big-bodied, hungry vegetarian with an aversion to hot weather survive in one of the hottest and driest places on earth? 

The Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat. Photo Steve Parish.
The Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat. Photo Steve Parish.
Day-to-day life for Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats throws up many challenges. First, the heat. During the day they rest in cool, humid burrows and only emerge at night once temperatures have dropped.

Next job, food. These wombats occupy low-rainfall areas that support nutrient-poor grasses. To combat this, they have very low metabolic rates to save energy.

And then, finding a mate. This is a job for the girls, who leave home to search for mates while the blokes laze around waiting for a growl at the burrow entrance. Burrows, however, are valuable real-estate, so it's an attractive offer to a prospective mate if you can provide shelter and a home.

History and cultural values

Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara on-country vistit to Bon Bon. Photo by Julia Harris.
Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara on-country vistit to Bon Bon. Photo by Julia Harris.
The traditional owners of this land are the Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara people and cultural heritage surveys have turned up Aboriginal tools and flakes.

The buildings and infrastructure on the reserve hark back to Bon Bon's 130-year history as a sheep station, when it was home to a large community of station owners, overseers, stockmen and Aboriginal families.

To ensure the Indigenous and European cultural heritage of Bon Bon is conserved, we're planning to undertake a more comprehensive Indigenous cultural heritage survey, and are working with the South Australian Museum to archive a number of important historical documents found on the property.

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