Boolcoomatta

A map showing the location of Boolcoomatta Reserve in South Australia.

Established: 2006
Area: 63,000 ha
Location: 100km W of Broken Hill
Traditional Owners: Both the Adnyamathanha and Wiljakali people

Detailed map >

Visiting Boolcoomatta >

If you drive an hour west of Broken Hill, past the backdrop of Mad Max II, feral goats and frantic emus, you'll reach a dirt track that leads to a former sheep station, now our Boolcoomatta Station Reserve.

Boolcoomatta’s 63,000 hectares contain vegetation under-represented in Australia’s national reserve system. Its sweeping plains boast chenopod (saltbush) shrublands and ephemeral wetlands. Creek beds are lined by grand old River Red Gums; squat, twisted and pocketed with bird hollows.

Looking west from Dome Rock toward the Olary Hills
Looking west from Dome Rock toward the Olary Hills
Photo: by Craig Allen
But for the occasional waterhole, the creeks are usually dry; the average rainfall is just 190mm and highly variable.

Yet the open mulga woodlands support species such as Gould's Wattled Bat, Blue Bonnets and Red-backed Kingfishers.

Reserve Manager Kurt Tschirner and volunteer Tony Geyer remove a fence. Photo Nicole Lovelock.
Reserve Manager Kurt Tschirner and volunteer Tony Geyer remove a fence. Photo Nicole Lovelock.
Down on the saltbush plains Orange Chats, Chirruping Wedgebills, Bearded Dragons and large flocks of Emus go about their business.

And watching over all of this are the dramatic Olary Ranges – some of the oldest rocks in Australia.

All this is protected thanks to the ongoing generosity of our supporters.

What Boolcoomatta protects

Open grasslands and saltbushes hide the vulnerable Murray Swainson-pea and the endangered Plains-wanderer, a small quail-like bird. Other significant species and communities protected include:

A Plains Wanderer. Photo Andrea Tschirner.
A Plains Wanderer. Photo Andrea Tschirner.
Animals

Peregrine falcon, Major Mitchell's cockatoo, Elegant Parrot, Thick-billed Grasswren (nationally vulnerable), Slender-billed Thornbill (nationally vulnerable), Hooded Robin, Stimson's Python, Eastern Grey Kangaroo.

Plants

Purplewood Wattle (nationally vulnerable), Slender bell-fruit (nationally vulnerable), Riverine flax-lily, Wilga, Australian Broomrape, Broughton Pea.

Vegetation communities

Mulga woodland, Bullock bush shrubland, Freshwater wetlands, River Red Gum woodlands.

What we’re doing

Run for 150 years as a sheep station, Boolcoomatta shows plenty of signs that it was carefully managed, and retains outstanding examples of Saltbush plains, ephemeral streams and wetlands.

Cinnamon Quail-thrush. Photo Graeme Chapman.
Cinnamon Quail-thrush. Photo Graeme Chapman.
To continue to protect these areas our staff and volunteers have worked hard to control feral animals and weeds. The reserve has also benefited from effective landscape-scale goat and fox control through the national Operation Bounceback program in the Flinders Ranges.

Our ecologists and volunteers have carried out plant and animal surveys, which show significant increases in shrub-dependent birds such as the Cinnamon Quail-thrush, Rufous field-wren, Redthroat and Chirruping Wedgebill.

Boolcoomatta has long-provided critical drought refuge habitat for the Plains Wanderer – an endemic species that's globally significant in conservation circles. Grasslands on the property are vital to its persistence and long-term monitoring programs using remote cameras and song meters will help us identify areas for additional protection from cats and foxes.

A Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby on Boolcoomatta. Photo Janet Gardner.
A Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby on Boolcoomatta. Photo Janet Gardner.
On the edge of the reserve, jumbled rocks at the foot of steep cliffs provide hope that the nationally threatened Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby may one day expand it's range from the neighbouring Bimbowrie Conservation Park and establish a population. Over the years a handful of sightings confirm individuals have explored the area.

Cultural values

Both the Adnyamathanha and Wiljakali peoples are Traditional Owners of Boolcoomatta.

The property played a crucial role in both the pastoral and mining industries that helped expand the fledgling colony of South Australia. Many historic buildings on the property were built using local stone.

Boolcoomatta Bushgift card.

A Boolcoomatta Gift Card is a virtual gift that supports our landscape-scale conservation work in the arid rangelands of South Australia. See our bushgifts card range for more.

Donate today to help us continue this and other vital conservation work. Most of our operating costs are funded by generous individuals.

Donations over $2 are tax-deductible and we can't thank you enough for support.

Boolcoomatta was acquired in 2006 with help from the Australian Government under the Natural Heritage Trust’s National Reserve System Program and the Nature Foundation SA.