Brookfield Conservation Park

Where is it?: Brookfield Conservation Park is situated along the Sturt Highway between Truro and Blanchetown, 14km W of Blanchetown.

Owner: Department of the Environment, Water and Natural Resources. The park is managed by Conservation Volunteers Australia.

Property summary: Total area 5515 hectares. Hundred of Skurry – Sections 8, 45-48, 56-61, 72-79, 183-192.

Natural Resources Management Region: Natural Resources South Australian Murray-Darling Region

History: Moves to purchase a reserve for the conservation of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat were initiated by Dr Peter Crowcroft (ex Director, South Australian Museum), the Director of the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. In 1971, the Chicago Zoological Society purchased Glen Leslie Station. The property was renamed the Brookfield Zoo Wombat Reserve and administered by a committee of management funded by the Chicago Zoological Society.

In early 1977, faced with rising costs, the Chicago Zoological Society instructed the Committee of Management to offer the reserve as a gift to the Government of South Australia subject to certain conditions.

In August 1977 the then Department for the Environment assumed financial and managerial responsibility for the reserve. It was proclaimed as Brookfield Conservation Park on 6 July 1978. As part of the agreement between the Department for the Environment and the Chicago Zoological Society, the Brookfield Conservation Park Scientific Advisory Committee was set up.

There is a Restricted Access Zone over the majority of the park, with prohibited entry to all except Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources staff and legitimate researchers and a public access zone (designated Natural Area Zone) in the southeastern portion of the park with a single entry point along the southern boundary.

Habitat: On the ridge in the northern section of the park, and extending north into the adjacent area, ridge-fruited mallee (Eucalyptus incrassata), red mallee (E. socialis) and narrow-leaved mallee (E. leptophylla) dominate over porcupine grass (Triodia scariosa) and sparse bitter saltbush (Atriplex stipitata). The northwestern corner of the park is dominated by yorrell (E. gracilis) open mallee over sparse bitter saltbush and pearl bluebush (Maireana sedifolia).

In the southeastern section of the park the understorey consists of a large expanse of regenerating pearl bluebush. Central areas of the park are covered by low woodland and tall shrubland typically dominated by sheep bush (Geijera linearifolia) and sugarwood (Myoporum platycarpum) in varying densities. Dryland tea-tree (Melaleuca lanceolata) is often found around claypans. The understorey is characterised by Australian boxthorn (Lycium australe), bullock bush (Alectryon oleifolius), caustic weed (Euphorbia drummondii) and heron’s bill (Erodium cygnorum).

More information: DEW

Total Species Recorded to Date: 139 (non-passerines 62, passerines 77)

Common Species: Crested Pigeon, Brown Treecreeper, Purple-backed Fairywren, Splendid Fairywren, Southern Whiteface, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Australian Magpie

Less Common Species: Little Buttonquail, Spotted Harrier, Spotted Nightjar, Little Corella, Shy Heathwren, Redthroat

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