Saving Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary

Developers Sold Lake; The Ecosystem's Collapsing

The lake that provided water to the 'man-made' ecosystem on Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary, in South Australia, was sold about a decade ago. Since then, slowly but surely, the Sanctuary has dried out. The ecosystem is collapsing. The plants and animals are dying.

What Is The Project?
Raising $490 000 to buy back the lake that used to belong to the Warrawong Sanctuary.

Who Are We?
Wife and husband team, Narelle MacPherson and David Cobbold; owners of Peel Zoo in Western Australia.

Where Is It?
Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary
47 Stock Road
South Australia, 5153

Why This Project?
Because Warrawong is the birthplace of feral proof fencing, cat curfews, the chocolate bilby... It's a national treasure and must be saved.

Why Now?
There are issues forcing Warrawong's neighbours to sell their property. This is a once in a lifetime chance to restore water to the Sanctuary.

The Problem

At its peak, Warrawong Sanctuary occupied 85 acres, across 9 properties. Unfortunately, the owners ran into financial difficulty and were forced to sell. Property developers swooped in and bought the prized real estate. With no care for the animals, the property developers carved up the Sanctuary and sold it off. Where animals once roamed, people built houses. All that remained of Warrawong was 28 acres. And that was abandoned 4 years ago. Animals were locked inside and left to fend for themselves. Not easy to do when your water was sold for profit.

Together, we can buy back the lake.

By raising AUD$490 000, we can buy the lake and the 8 acres of land it sits on. We can realign the boundary and reunite the plants and animals of Warrawong Sanctuary with their life-source.

Hang On Platypus, We’re On Our Way

One of the most important animals at Warrawong Sanctuary is the platypus. They've been extinct on mainland South Australia for over 40 years. They thrived at Warrawong though. In fact, years of successful breeding may have enabled some animals to escape from the Sanctuary and 're-wild' local waterways.

We must buy the lake to ensure the survival of the platypus.

The Best News

My name’s David. My wife, Narelle, and I just bought the last 28 acres of the abandoned Sanctuary.

It was big news. That's how important Warrawong Sanctuary is. Almost everyone published the story. Check out some of the media coverage we received.

TV Seven News
TV Nine News
TV Ten News
Radio FIVEaa
In Daily
Adelaide Now
The West Australian
ABC Online
Conservation Journal

Now we're on a mission to buy back the lake and bring the Sanctuary back to life.

We're going to buy back the lake and bring back the life.

Narelle and I actually own Peel Zoo in Western Australia. But we're selling it. We've already sold our lovely little home in the forest, and most of our worldly possessions. What's more, we've packed up our children and our dog, and we've driven 3572 kilometres to save Warrawong.

Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary is a national treasure. It must be saved.

Saving a National Treasure
Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary is a really significant part of Australia’s conservation history. It was founded in 1969 by Dr John Wamsley. In 2003, he was named the Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year. John pioneered feral proof fencing and created the chocolate Easter Bilby. His influence, and that of Warrawong Sanctuary, cannot be overstated.

The Sanctuary That Changes Lives
A young girl, named Bronte, camped at Warrawong Sanctuary when she was a kid. Bronte grew up to be our Head Keeper at Peel Zoo. Another young girl, named Julie, also camped at Warrawong as a child. Julie's our vet at the Zoo.

Warrawong  changes lives. It enables children to fulfill their dreams of working with animals. Australia cannot afford to lose the Sanctuary.

The Foundation
We've already laid the foundation to save Warrawong Sanctuary by purchasing the abandoned 28 acres. It's not enough though. To really save the Sanctuary, we need to buy back the lake and bring back the life.

Less Is More

Our goal is to raise AUD$490 000. That way we can buy the lake outright. However, we have spoken to our bank and they will lend us enough to buy the lake, and pay the stamp duty, if we can raise AUD$150 000. So, raising less, still enables us to purchase more. The animals will get their lake back.

More Is More
Imagine if we raise more than we need. All of a sudden we're in a position to build an animal hospital. We could fast-track the construction of the accommodation units. We might even be able to resurrect the underwater observatories, built by Dr Wamsley, and incorporate them into a platypus research centre. Imagine that.

Everything Is More
In reality, every cent of support provides Warrawong Sanctuary with more than it presently has. That's great, because we have quite a bit of work to do.

Remember, the Sanctuary was abandoned 4 years ago. So, we not only have to save the animals, we have to ensure the humans who visit are safe too.

Once In A Lifetime
Our neighbours have to sell their property. If we don't buy the lake now, we may never have another opportunity.

While completely unexpected, this is a once in a lifetime chance to restore the Sanctuary’s ecosystem and secure a future for all the animals.

Time is running out. Lives are at stake. If we don’t buy the lake now, we may never have the opportunity again.

Get involved. Get your friends and family involved. Spread the word and share this campaign on Facebook.

You can see the animals need water.

Let's buy back the lake and bring back the life.

  • Taj Pabari 
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Guy Wheal Jr 
    • $50 
    • 24 mos
  • Lynda Brooks 
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
  • Hallett Cove Veterinary Surgery 
    • $50 
    • 29 mos
  • Lucinda TOOZE 
    • $1,000 
    • 32 mos
See all


David Cobbold 
Heathfield SA