Originally famous as the home of "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo" after the TV series filmed there during the 1960’s, the previously mismanaged Wildlife Park was closed in February 2003. After the series ended both the set and the animals used in filming remained. Over the years the place deteriorated, unsure whether it was an animal sanctuary, a petting zoo, or a movie set.
Earth Sanctuaries Ltd. (ESL) then purchased the lease with the sole aim of rejuvenating the site as a centre for conservation. The bushland area and nature reserve had been properly restored and the park re-opened to the public as an Earth Sanctuary in 2003, the first of its type in Sydney.
Earth Sanctuaries Limited who have a track record of restoring native wildlife habitats.
Species of rare and endangered animals once native to the Ku-ring-gai Chase region were being re-introduced, species seldom recognised by most Australians including pademelons, bettongs, bandicoots and potoroos.
The major objective for Waratah Park Earth Sanctuary was to restore the balance of native flora and fauna that existed prior to European settlement of the area. It was being hailed as the 1788 sanctuary! This had been achieved by the feral-proof fencing the sanctuary, eradicating all feral animals, restoring appropriate native vegetation, landscaping and planting indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses.
In the end, ESL's market-based conservation model failed the test of long-term sustainability. In 2006, ESL's remaining assets were taken over by Prudentia Investments, a Melbourne-based property development group.
Waratah Park is now leased by Prudentia from the Lands Department and has been closed for nearly two years, apparently for renovation. Residents believe Prudentia has let the site run down because it intends to build houses there.
The lease, which expires in October 2015, specifies the land must be used for “Tourist Facilities and Services”. Prudentia are being very secretive as to their plans for the park.
This could be a wonderful opportunity to return this back to our community. We have enough golf courses and not enough family & educational based parks for the families to enjoy.
- Waratah Park Nature Reserve Foundation INC
- Duffy's Forest, NSW, Australia
- Waratah Park Nature Reserve Foundation is dedicated to the preservation of the Iconic home of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, and the location of the hit 1960’s TV series. Located at Duffy’s Forest in Sydney, this beautiful 13 hectare property is under constant threat of development. Our group is dedicated to making sure that this does not happen. We do not want to see another piece of Australian history lost to development. As one supporter has aptly said “Knocking down Waratah Park would be like knocking down the Opera House”.