Reduce, reuse, recycle this World Environment Day
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.
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.
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.
Significant species and communities include:
Plains-Wanderer, Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies, Tree skink (Egernia striolata), Dusky Hopping Mice, Planigale, Emus, White-winged Fairy Wrens, Chirruping Wedgebills, Chestnut Crowned Babblers, Singing and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters, Australian or Richard’s Pipits, Nankeen or Australian Kestrels, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Masked Woodswallows. Orange and Crimson Chats, Zebra Finches, Budgies, Cockatiels, Brown and Rufous Songlarks.
Murray Swainson-pea (vulnerable), Purplewood Wattle (nationally vulnerable), Slender bell-fruit (nationally vulnerable), Riverine flax-lily, Wilga, Australian Broomrape, Broughton Pea.
Mulga woodland, Bullock bush shrubland, Freshwater wetlands, River Red Gum woodlands.
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.
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.
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 using remote cameras and song meters help us identify areas for additional protection.
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.
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 have expanded it’s range from the neighbouring Bimbowrie Conservation Park and established a population. Sightings over many years confirm individuals have explored the area.
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.
Judy Johnson has researched and documented the social history of the property in great detail, and Eva Finzel has edited her document.
Click Went the Shears: history of Boolcoomatta 1857 to 2020 (220 pages 14 Mb)
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.
From 1 June to September 30 you can book a camping spot at Boolcoomatta to explore the reserve for yourself. Visit our Boolcoomatta camping page to register and download the camping guide with details of what you’ll need.
Despite their surprising choice of habitat, acoustic records of the critically endangered Plains Wanderer are on the rise at Boolcoomatta Reserve.Read More
Several Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies have been caught on camera at the Saddle on Boolcoomatta Reserve. They appear to be new residents as numbers increase in the Olary Ranges.Read More
Could this endangered species be on the rise in South Australia? National conservation not-for-profit Bush Heritage Australia has recorded eleven critically endangered Plains-wanderers on its Boolcoomatta Reserve, Adnyamathanha and Wilyakali Country in South Australia during the most recent survey.Read More
Sitting with my sun-warmed back against the base of Dome Rock and gazing out over the vast plains of Boolcoomatta into the rays of the setting sun, is my happy place.Read More
Hydrological rehabilitation is a focus of our work at Boolcoomatta Reserve. We recently completed works at Wiperaminga Hills to stop water and soil moving off the property quickly, and hold it longer so it's available for fauna and flora.Read More
October 2021 has delivered a significant rain event at Boolcoomatta Station Reserve. My family and I moved up to Boolcoomatta Station Reserve on Adnyamathanha and Wilyakali Country in mid-October 2021, to take up the role of managing this amazing property.Read More
It’s small, brown and has a habit of flattening itself to the ground to avoid detection. Finding a Plains-wanderer is no easy feat.Read More
The Conversation recently published an article about the devastating impact that rabbits have had and continue to exert on Australia plants, wildlife and landscapes.Read More
This year’s fauna monitoring at Boolcoomatta, also termed Critter Camp, was another success with a great bunch of volunteers gathering to peer inside traps for a week.Read More
I'm completing my PhD with the Spatial Sciences Group in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Adelaide in collaboration with Bush Heritage Australia. My research will be conducted at Bush Heritage’s Bon Bon and Boolcoomatta reserves in South Australian.Read More
In Spring last year, drenching rains across South Australia ended a two-year drought for our Boolcoomatta Reserve, Adnyamathanha and Wilyakali country. The moisture transformed the arid landscape from brown to Irish green almost overnight.Read More
One of the questions we asked in the study was ‘are the wallabies, Euros and goats competing for the same food source? And we found a significant overlap in their diets.Read More
After settling in for a three week stay as caretakers, we couldn’t wait to get out in the field at Boolcoomatta Reserve to see what had changed since the welcome spring rains had arrived.Read More
Earlier this month, Boolcoomatta Reserve staff had the pleasure of hosting five members of Birds South Australia to undertake bird surveys across the reserve. The dedicated volunteers came from all corners of the state to help. Several significant rainfall events in the lead up to the surveys broke a three-year dry spell, which meant that the team was greeted by a landscape in boom! The reserve had been transformed into a carpet of lush shrubs, wetlands and flowering eremophila. Needless to say, excitement levels were high as we divided up into teams, picked up datasheets and binoculars and set forth to the monitoring sites.Read More
I am a PhD student at the University of New South Wales investigating the indirect top-down effects of the absence of dingoes on ecosystems. One of my study sites includes Boolcoomatta Reserve west of Broken Hill in South Australia. One aspect I am particularly interested in is the impact of a release in predation pressure from dingoes on kangaroos.Read More
The words of CJ Dennis finally came to fruition after two-and-a-half years of relentless dry weather and dust out at Boolcoomatta, with nearly 100mm of rain falling in the last few weeks. It’s easy to appreciate the saying “just add water” after an event like this! What were dry, dusty plains are now a vibrant green, covered in fast-growing annual vegetation and what we really want to see, the occasional grass seed head.Read More
In early August, research staff from South Australia’s Department for Environment and Water visited Boolcoomatta to conduct some Yellow-throated Miner trapping, as part of a project to investigate the genetics of its closely related cousin the Black-eared Miner, which is one of Australia’s rarest birds.Read More
With Covid restrictions in South Australia relaxed a little, my husband Tony and I were lucky enough to spend three weeks in July volunteering at Boolcoomatta Reserve. We knew that there had been very little rain there over the past year and the magnificent River Red Gums were looking thirsty, as you would expect. What we didn’t expect was to see the profusion of wildflowers blooming in the gilgais out on the plains and in crevices on the rocky slopes. These bright little flowers bobbing in the breeze really brightened our time on the reserve.Read More
Gilgais act as a source for the capture of water after rainfall events. Even during these dry times, the response in vegetation after a small amount of rain is most prominent around these gilgais. They provide micro-relief patches that catch seeds, leaf material, and are also the depressions that make shelter possible for the numerous little critters that inhabit the area.Read More
G’day! My name is Andrea, at the moment I am one of the few lucky volunteers who still gets to go to work on a Bush Heritage reserve, so I thought I’d take you along with me for a week.Read More
Bats have been getting a bad rap lately, but we think the critters are pretty amazing. The little (mostly) nocturnal mammals play a big role in biodiversity and can help us to understand more about the country.Read More
Purplewood trees provide habitat for species such as fairy-wrens and chirruping wedgebills and are a host for other important plants such as mistletoe. The ‘Purplewood Project’ was established to map and document the populations of Purplewood throughout Boolcoomatta Reserve.Read More
This Red Gum is massive and many centuries old. It’s easy to imagine kids over hundreds of years past playing on and around it (as my daughters do now).Read More
There mightn't be much pitter patter here at Boolcoomatta but there are certainly many positives happening.Read More
In the second week of September 2019 I took the long road across the Barrier Highway and out to South Australia for 12 days of African Boxthorn control on Boolcoomatta Station Reserve.Read More
Maureen and Richard Oborn had donated to us for many years, connected financially and via stories in our newsletters. But their engagement went to another level after visiting our Boolcoomatta Reserve in South Australia, and seeing how donor funds are put to use.Read More
On Friday 26th April, much to the delight of dedicated long-term volunteers, Tony and Meredith Geyer, a female Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby with a large joey was photographed on Eagle Rock just prior to sunset.Read More
From native apricots to wattle species to saltbush galore - plants at our Boolcoomatta Station Reserve are flowering and seeding, despite a dry season.Read More
By hemlines I'm referring to the foliage crowns of bushes and trees that feral herbivores like to munch on. A quick assessment of the height of a browse line and its severity provides real-time information about the impact of feral herbivores and the need for appropriate management.Read More
In September we had an amazing group of 11 volunteers make the long trek to our Boolcoomatta Station Reserve to help with vital weed management. The group were focused on our long-term management strategy to control the African Boxthorn and Pepper Trees in the beautiful Oonatra Creek system.Read More
Spend enough time amongst Boolcoomatta Station Reserve’s sweeping native grasslands, and you could be lucky enough to encounter a Plains-wanderer.Read More
Keith Gooley and Peter Caulder are Bush Heritage volunteers with expertise in electronics and a passion for conservation. Keith and Peter are using these skills to help us address one of the biggest threats to Australian wildlife on Boolcoomatta Reserve - feral cats.Read More
Hi! I'm Emily and I'm a science intern here at Boolcoomatta Reserve in the arid rangelands of South Australia. My primary focus over the next two months is to collect data on the distribution of feral cats here.Read More
Recently we completed another round of fox baiting at Boolcoomatta, testing and recording bait take, at the same 200 bait stations used since 2009. We were very pleased with the results – less than 10% of baits were taken, for a total of 19 baits from the 200 laid.Read More
On Boolcoomatta Reserve there's an area called the 'flood-out'. As the name suggests it's a low-lying area where water run-off gathers, which makes it fertile ground for weeds. Most years we slash management access tracks. These enable us to access what was once wall-to-wall box thorn and pepper trees.Read More
Soil conservation is one of the ongoing challenges we have on all our reserves, some more than others. There's been much modification of the land over the past 200 years, with new animals roaming across the land, eating things and changing the soil structure and composition. This is the case at Boolcoomatta Reserve.Read More
Ten years ago on the 27th March 2006, Bush Heritage Australia became the custodians of Boolcoomatta Station, now Boolcoomatta Station Reserve. On Sunday (ten years to the day) we hosted a gathering to mark the occasion.Read More
Many thousands of generations walked over this land before we arrived to now share the responsibility of caretaking it for future generations. We work collaboratively now to find the necessary balance of production, preservation and use for recreation and inspiration.Read More
It was an emotional moment for Meredith Geyer and her family as they arrived at South Australia's Boolcoomatta Reserve and entered the renovated shearers' quarters. Fixed to the wall beside the fireplace is a stained timber board acknowledging the generous donors and benefactors who have helped to fund Bush Heritage's work at Boolcoomatta. Meredith's father, John Weightman, who passed away two years ago, is the latest name to be included on the plaque.Read More
On a recent bequest supporter trip to Boolcoomatta, Reserve Manager and tour guide extraordinaire, Glen Norris was leading a convoy of four cars when he stopped and radioed this eerie observation back to those following: "We are being watched".Read More
The Adnyamathanha people are the Traditional Owners of the lands extending from the far north Flinders Ranges in South Australia to Boolcoomatta Station Reserve near Broken Hill. In 1998 the Nantawarrina Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), which covers 58,000 hectares of their land, was the first indigenous protected area to be declared in the country.Read More
A new long-term monitoring program using remote infra-red cameras on both Boolcoomatta and our Bon Bon Reserve will help protect vulnerable natives such as the plains wanderer from feral foxes and cats.Read More
Drive one hour west of Broken Hill. Drive past the backdrop of Mad Max II, past feral goats and frantic emus. Drive down a dirt track, cross three cattle grids and you'll reach Bush Heritage's Boolcoomatta Station Reserve.Read More
Volunteering is another way we connect like‑minded people with what we do, and volunteers help us stretch our resources to achieve more of our conservation priorities. [16 June 2014]Read More
They're small, well-camouflaged and there's estimated to be less than 1000 remaining in the wild. So imagine our surprise when last week our Arid Rangelands ecologist Graeme Finlayson spotted not one, not two, but THREE critically endangered Plains-wanderer birds while driving around our Boolcoomatta Reserve!Read More