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Wandoo Woodlands at Kojonup Photo: Simon Neville
Wandoo Woodlands at Kojonup Photo: Simon Neville

Kojonup

Established:

1996

Area:

389 ha

Location:

270km south-east of Perth, WA

Traditional Custodians:

Koreng Noongar Country (Boodjah)

Kojonup Reserve stands out from the nearby cleared wheat belt country as a chaotic, magical bushland filled with chattering bird life.

The largest protected area of wandoo woodlands in the region, it shows us what this country was like before the destructive policies of the 1960s, when a million acres of WA bushland a year was burned, buried and bulldozed for broad-acre farming.

The reserve’s canopy buzzes with insects, perfect prey for insectivorous birds such as the Golden Whistler. Many local bird species, such as the declining Rufous Treecreeper, nest in hollows in mature wandoo.

Three phases of Wandoo - growth, maturity and decline. Photo Angela Sanders.

On the ground, fallen logs provide habitat for foraging birds such as White-browed Babblers, and even the scattered bark and leaf litter are important, protecting against soil erosion and providing food and shelter for invertebrates, reptiles and small mammals.

The woodlands’ nectar-rich flowers feed honeyeaters almost year round, and the trunks of the sheoak trees make perfect springboards for lightning-fast Red-tailed Phascogales to leap around the canopy.

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

Fringed Lillies are amongst the wild flowers on display. Photo Angela Sanders.

What Kojonup Reserve protects

Kojonup is home to close to 100 species of native birds. It also protects these significant species and communities:

Animals: Rufous Treecreeper, Red-tailed Phascogale, Threatened land snail.

Plants: Shy Feather-flower, Trigger Plant, Redcoat, Fringed Lily.

Vegetation communities: Wandoo, Sheoak and Brown Mallet woodland and heath.

When dusk settles at Kojonup, tiny marsupials called Red-tailed Phascogales, no bigger than the size of a couple of matchboxes, fly through the air, leaping two metres at a time and gripping the sides of trees, almost as if their feet were wrapped in Velcro.

Once common in this area, Red-tailed Phascogales have declined dramatically in numbers, and now have the dubious distinction of being nationally vulnerable.

Ecologist Angela Sanders with a Red-tailed Phascogale. Photo Annette Ruzicka.

Ecologist Angela Sanders supervises volunteers setting up a nesting box for relocated Red-tailed Phascogales.

Brought to Kojonup Reserve in May 2010 and 2011 from various sites in the WA wheat belt, 30 individuals – 16 females and 14 males – were released just ahead of their mating season.

Their mission: to contribute to increasing the number of self-sustaining populations in the region.

The area is actively monitored through camera traps and regular surveys. Together with the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, we’re keeping a close eye on the breeding success of the Kojonup population, which may help to save this species from extinction.

Podcast

Climb up the tree. Open the nest box. And look inside...

The secret life of phascogales

Threats

As a consequence of land clearing in this part of the world, large tracts of land are now threatened by salinity, and Kojonup Reserve is no exception.

The southwest corner of the property has been particularly hard hit, with areas of the native bushland dead or salt-affected. However, tree-planting in neighbouring properties seems to be yielding results, with the saline groundwater table remaining steady in recent years.

The only weed of significance on the reserve is Bridal Creeper and this is controlled every year to minimise its spread.

Learn more about our Conservation Management Process and how we measure our impact or download a full ecological scorecard for the reserve below.

Cultural values

Kojonup is an Aboriginal name said to mean ‘place of the stone axe’ (kodja) and the stone used to make it (kodj).

The O’Halloran family owned Kojonup Reserve between 1926 and 1996, and were so intent on protecting its woodlands that when it came time for them to sell they spent 10 years finding the appropriate buyer – Bush Heritage.

Species at Kojonup

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Stories from Kojonup

BLOG 27/04/2023

Phascogales prevail 12 years on

Twelve years ago, long-serving Ecologist, Angela Sanders and her team arrived on Kojonup reserve with 30 Red-tailed Phascogales. Now, after more than a decade of careful management and detailed monitoring, we have the results of a long-awaited genetic diversity test.

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Red-tailed Phascogale. Photo Meredith Spencer.

BUSHTRACKS 15/04/2021

Marsupials under the microscope

A conservation genetics project on Kojonup Reserve is guiding the management of one of Bush Heritage’s sweetest marsupial residents – the Red-tailed Phascogale.

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BLOG 22/05/2018

Phascogales a translocation success

The annual monitoring of Red-tailed Phascogales at our Kojonup Reserve has just been completed with some good news for the species.

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BLOG 20/06/2017

Rare Feather Flower at Kojonup

The shy feather flower (Verticordia fimbrelepis fimbrelepis) that grows on our Kojonup Reserve in south-west WA is one of just 13 known populations in the wild. A prescribed burn of part of this population was carried out recently to revitalise ageing plants.

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BUSHTRACKS 30/09/2016

A giant leap

The 2010 translocation of 30 Red-tailed Phascogales to Kojonup Reserve in Western Australia signalled a maturing of approach for Bush Heritage Australia.

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BLOG 10/06/2016

Red-tailed Phascogale survey

Our Kojonup Reserve has once again come up with the goods. Red-tailed Phascogales have been found in abundance. The recent survey found 23 individuals and I was amazed to pull five animals out of one of the nest boxes!

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