Australia really is ‘somewhere unique’. Specifically, our ecology is unique, beautiful, and fragile.
Take Australia’s most common tree, the simple eucalypt. Except these trees are not actually so simple – owing to their ability to survive in poor soil there are more than 800 species of eucalypts, and they are the most widely grown trees on earth (after pines). The Sydney region alone has more than twice as many eucalypt species as Britain has total species of trees. Eucalypts appear hardy, but they have only prospered due to Australia’s exceptional birdlife. Australia’s eucalypts and paperbarks are the only bird-pollinated trees on earth which form vast forests (as distinct by pollination occurring through insects and wind). And so without our unique birds, our unique trees would not survive. Such is the fragility and uniqueness of our native ecology.
And so protection is essential for our flora and fauna to survive. Our national parks are our most important resource in this regard and, for example, adjacent to the Wollombi Valley are the Yengo, Watagans, and Wollemi National Parks. Despite such beautiful and substantial protected areas, however, only 11% of the undeveloped Australian continent has some type of secure protection. And for the vast range of natural animal and plant life native to Australia, this is not enough. Australia has one of the worst records for mammal extinctions (and near extinctions) of any developed country in the world.
In 2007, the ‘Humane Society International’ launched the ‘Wildlife Land Trust (WLT) Australia’ specifically to preserve and protect our vital native habitats and the animals that depend on them, by the establishment of a network of sanctuaries throughout the country. This important and clever initiative utilises privately-owned land as part of the protection solution. By becoming a member of the ‘Wildlife Lands Trust’ private landholders, with a concern for wildlife and habitat protection, are making a very real contribution to conservation efforts. Since the establishment of the Trust there are 438 designated sanctuaries nationally, which protect 57,979 hectares of land.
Although only a tiny contributor, ‘Somewhere Unique’ is very proud to be part of the ‘Wildlife Land Trust’ initiative. It is our intent that ‘Somewhere Unique’ be used for the benefit of the local environment in preserving our 8 hectares of natural bushland which is dominated by eucalypt woodlands, and is home to common wallaroos (Macropus robustus), common wombats (Vombatus ursinus), and a variety of native birdlife. Further, we were the first accommodation property in Hunter Valley Wine Country to achieve Ecotourism certification through Ecotourism Australia, and we also conduct an annual review of the property’s carbon footprint and offset this through Greenfleet Australia.
‘Somewhere Unique’ will continue to protect our native land and species. We can think of no higher purpose or more important task than protecting and preserving habitats and ecosystems for the survival of all native wildlife. While our guests can enjoy and rejoice in the uniqueness, beauty, and fragility of nature.