As a partner in the Gondwana Link project, which aims to restore and reconnect landscape in south-west Western Australia, Bush Heritage is strengthening its conservation efforts by joining forces with like-minded neighbours.
It's a long way from the craggy, towering volcanic peaks of Queensland's Glass House Mountains to the sandplains and rocky outcrops of the Fitz-Stirling region of south‑west Western Australia.
But for former custard apple farmers, Bill and Jane Thompson, the move made perfect sense. After their Queensland farm was compulsorily acquired for railway infrastructure, the couple who are keen amateur botanists and regular visitors to south-west Western Australia, decided that the Fitz-Stirling region was where they wanted to re-settle.
The Thompsons had been astounded by the region's biodiversity and deeply impressed by the sheer ambition of the Gondwana Link project.
“We wanted to do something to help the environment,” says Jane. “We admired the ambitious vision of Gondwana, and the positive, passionate folk that we met, helped to clarify what we wanted next from our lives.”
After seeking guidance from Gondwana Link the couple bought Yarraweyah Falls, a botanically-rich 1,500 hectare property. With Bush Heritage's Monjebup Reserve adjoining to the south, and linking through to Bush Heritage's Monjebup North Reserve, the three properties combined form a U-shaped area of 3,000 hectares of continuous native habitat.
The Thompson's purchase is extremely significant because it complements and extends Bush Heritage's own contribution to the Gondwana Link restoration project in this area.
Since buying Yarraweyah Falls in 2012, the Thompsons have restored 100 hectares of cleared land, which started with hand‑collecting the seeds of more than 200 local native plant species based on advice from Bush Heritage.
Having Bill and Jane as our neighbours and partners is just so important from a landscape management perspective.
In this region, even small remnants of bush - as little as hundreds or even tens of hectares - can contain extraordinary biodiversity.
For many years we have supported fauna and botanical surveys on the property. Among the species supported are the Western Whipbird and vulnerable Malleefowl.
It's really quite amazing what Bill and Jane's arrival and our partnership with them has achieved.
The 730 hectares of native bush on Bill and Jane's property is a continuum of the landscape on our Monjebup Reserve, so being able to manage and protect it as one is significant.