Restoration at scale across the broader Gondwana Link got a big boost in 2019-20 when gas giant Woodside Energy worked with Greening Australia to purchase two well-placed farming properties. Over 3,000 hectares was purchased, with most of it planted during 2020 through a massive effort by Greening, led by Barry Heydenrych and Glen Steven, and including local direct seeding contractors plus Noongar planting teams. It’s been a dry year since the planting, but we understand they got good germination.
One of the properties is just west of Sukey Hill at Cranbrook, and connects existing habitat areas on two foothills of the Stirling Ranges. The other property is in the salt lake country west of Lake Magenta Nature Reserve, and adjoins smaller reserves. We’re told Greening’s WA Science leader (and malleefowl tragic) Blair Parsons, is particularly delighted with this purchase.
This west Magenta land was only allocated for agriculture in the late 1960s, and when the new owners realised the prevalence of salt lakes and associated soils, they joined with the Ongerup Conservation Organisation in seeking compensation or land exchange from the WA Government. By finding archives and soil mapping from that time, including a 1974 report from renowned local botanist, the late Ken Newbey, we were able to help Woodside make their purchase decision.
In the early 1970s the late Veronica Kingdon (above) worked closely with the Ongerup Conservation Organisation to care for the bushland and beautiful salt lakes on the property. The property, and Veronica, featured in the 2002 documentary, ‘A Million Acres a Year’.