Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Riverland refugeRiverland refuge

In its effort to save a critically endangered bird species, a community conservation group has transformed a marginal sheep station in South Australia's Riverland into an internationally recognised model for biodiversity conservation and ecotourism.

Story Jane Hammond Photos Jane Hammond and Graeme Chapman

Duncan MacKenzie kicks the parched earth of a dam that just a few years ago provided water for sheep in the dry heart of the mallee. He is standing in an area of Gluepot Reserve, 64 kilometres from Waikerie in South Australia's Riverland. The sun-bleached bones of goats litter the red cracked earth, but the scene is far from devastating. Now that the water in the dam is gone, the native plants, birds and other animals are recolonising this isolated area and MacKenzie is smiling.

Riverland refugeAs chair of Birds Australia's Gluepot Reserve, MacKenzie spends much of his retirement protecting this valuable natural resource. A former Antarctic researcher and one-time head of a $98 million IT company, he now leads a 14-member management committee and a band of dedicated volunteers, known affectionately as the 'Gluepot family'. Together they have transformed this once marginal sheep station into a nature reserve that is attracting interest from around the world. Story end

Full story Issue 34 April/May 2004

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