Charles Darwin

Last updated on 05 Oct 2017 
Map showing the location of Charles Darwin Reserve in WA.

Established: 2003
Area: 68,600 ha
Location: 355km NE of Perth, 60km E of Perenjori

Detailed map >

Visiting Charles Darwin >

Named in honour of the great naturalist, Charles Darwin Reserve lies north-east of Perth, on the northern edge of the Western Australian wheat belt.

The sheep may be gone from this former pastoral station, but there's no shortage of animals roaming its ancient woodlands and wildflower-strewn plains.

A wallaroo amongst wildflowers on Charles Darwin Reserve. Photo Dale Fuller.
A wallaroo amongst wildflowers on Charles Darwin Reserve. Photo Dale Fuller.
The history of extensive clearing throughout south-west Western Australia makes it an important refuge for animals and plants once widespread in the region.

Charles Darwin Reserve falls largely within the Southwest Botanical Province, Australia's only internationally recognised biodiversity ‘hotspot' – plant species diversity in the Southwest Botanical Province is higher than in tropical Australian rainforests.

York Gum Woodlands on Charles Darwin Reserve. Photo Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies.
York Gum Woodlands on Charles Darwin Reserve. Photo Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies.
The Reserve also extends into the more arid Eremean Province to the north, creating an interesting ‘melting pot' of plant species.

Charles Darwin Reserve provides habitat for over 230 animals including mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians. So far we've recorded over 680 plant species. The daisy, pea and eucalypt families are particularly well represented and the diversity of wattles is very high with over 55 species recorded.

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

What we’re doing

Luke Bayley (left) and PhD student Tim Doherty fit a radio collar to a feral cat as part of a broader control program. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
Luke Bayley (left) and PhD student Tim Doherty fit a radio collar to a feral cat as part of a broader control program. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
Our first tasks since purchase, with help from volunteers and neighbours, was to remove the last stray sheep and tackle the dozens of weed species.

Feral goats are a major threat, damaging plants and causing soil erosion, so we have an ongoing goat control program, which has dramatically reduced numbers. 

In partnership with Edith Cowan University we've conducted research into the effectiveness of ground-baiting using Eradicat to control cats. The potential benefits of this research include a better understanding of predator control operations and improved land management strategies.

As part of a bigger picture, Charles Darwin Reserve is helping us understand the effects of a changing climate on Australian animals and plants. For the next 30 years the reserve will be part of the Climate Change Observatory project – an ambitious initiative designed to see how our native species are responding to the expected drier and hotter weather.

Open Day and Blues for the Bush

Hatz Fitz at Blues for the Bush. Photo Cineport Media.
Hatz Fitz at Blues for the Bush. Photo Cineport Media.
Together with the Shire of Perenjori, and with generous support from sponsors, we've run several Community Open Days at the Reserve followed by open air Blues for the Bush concerts. Those attending the community open days are engaged in demonstrations and discussions about important aspects of the social, cultural and economic life of this vibrant and resilient community.

Then as the sun goes down picnic rugs are spread out, the BBQ fired up, the bar opened and a Blues for the Bush concert begins. Local, Perth and interstate bands provide the backdrop to this rare chance for city and country folk to meet, mingle and even dance together under the stars.

See www.bluesforthebush.org.au.

Culture and history

The reserve lies on the traditional lands of the Badimaya people. Charles Darwin Reserve, also known as White Wells Station, was previously operated as a sheep station. 

For more historical background see the Charles Darwin Reserve Community History site.

WILDgift cards
Leave a legacy