Araucaria Sanctuary is 100 acres (40 ha) of privately-owned land located in Northern NSW. In 2022 a Conservation Order was established with Biodiversity Conservation Trust, with 17 ha now set aside in perpetuity for conservation.
Our long-term vision is to create a rich and biodiverse carbon-positive ecosystem, forming a haven for existing and released wildlife and supporting population increases in threatened fauna and flora species.
For more than 10 years we focused on wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release, primarily of marsupials. As of 2023 we decided to focus our passion, time and energy on bush regeneration and land care and will be taking an indefinite break from our rescue and rehabilitation activities.
Araucaria Sanctuary is listed with Humane Society International's Wildlife Lands Trust and is available for short-term visits through Help-X.
Photo: Ruby, one of our first Red-necked wallabies released in 2012 - and one of our many grand-joeys.
Araucaria is the name of a genus of cone-bearing trees. Araucaria cunninghamii – the Hoop Pine – is a dominant tree on our Sanctuary. Rock Valley was historically noted for the prevalence of Hoop Pines prior to timber felling and there are some enormous remnant trees on our land that would be hundreds of years old.
The Hoop Pines are a key food for the enormous Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus) who regularly and brazenly screech their way across the valley – at times choosing to fell saplings for a meal of wood-boring grubs.
The Hoop Pines hold particular significance for us. When we first moved to this land more than 25 years ago we were captivated by the magic of the Hoop pines rising magestically from the valley through the billowing morning mist. We have planted many more trees since, and have delighted in those that self-seed in nooks and crannies.
Rock Valley is part of the Bundjalung Tribal Lands. The Bundjalung name for Rock Valley was "Durrigan" or Hanging Rock Valley and was Wiyabal territory (A.A. Leycester of Tunstall from Olley, W. The Spriit of the Valley)
Araucaria Wildlife Sanctuary is currently owned, managed and cared for by Don Metcalfe and Renata Phelps. Through our membership of WIRES Northern Rivers we previously specialised in the rescue and care of marsupials, with a focus on macropods, possums, gliders and other small mammals. We are also members of Friends of the Koala and Jiggi Landcare.
We are forever indebted to the many helpers, both local and visitors from overseas, who have assisted us over the years with both wildlife and land care. We thank all of them for their support. Without them we couldn't have saved as many little lives as have over the years. Just some of Araucaria's wonderful friends...
Many thanks for bush regeneration assistance from:
Daniel Riordan from Forests First.
Dan has been helping to do heaps of landcare and weed control at Araucaria over the past couple of years, including as part of some of our funded projects.
Philippe Binetruy (pictured right) and his team
Julie Reid - Jiggi Landcare - for all her advice, mentoring and grant assistance
Our Sanctuary is listed with Humane Society International's Wildlife Land Trust.
Our involvement with Jiggi Landcare has helped us learn more about the flora of our area, and has assisted us to apply for grants to support our regeneration work.
We have been fortunate and grateful to have secured a number of grants in recent years to assist us with our activities.
In 2021 we partnered with Conservation Volunteers Australia and were supported to plant 1200+ trees with a grant from NRMA. We will be involved in hosting some workshops and monitoring wildlife with camera footage. Huge thanks to Shae and Kelly for all their energy and dedication.
In 2018/19 we received a grant from Lismore City Council through the Rural Landholders Initiative. This enabled us to get assistance to do weed control in our riparian zone.
Our Sanctuary is registered with Humane Society International's Wildlife Lands Trust.
We have received funding through the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust and the Federally funded National Landcare Program (with a focus on controlling and containing Weeds of National Significance in riparian habitat known to contain threatened species).
We are now, also, a Land for Wildlife property and as of 2022 have a Biodiversity Conservation Agreement.
Our logo was designed for us by Abi Andrews, and captures the essence of our sanctuary... with wallabies, gliders and our stately Hoop Pines.