Friday, September 14


I have previously reviewed Chris Williams book Old Land, New Landscapes about Australian Farmers, Conservation and the Land care movement in Australia, which are creating a new green wedge of improved bio diversity through private farmland of our immense continent. Click here if you would like to read this review.

Chris is currently the Bush Protection Director for Trust for Nature in Victoria, an organisation whose objective is to preserve “Nature in Perpetuity” for all future generations. Trust for Nature assists private landholders set up legally binding covenants on private land by setting aside areas to be held in trust for nature. Larger acquisitions of entire properties are similarly covenanted.

Chris and his brother currently own a farm which grows natives plants as a ‘seed orchard” in areas previously used as grazing paddocks. The remainder of the farm is bushland with various types of native vegetation managed for nature conservation and to collect the wild seed to sell for revegetation and restoration for projects and mines. Some seeds go also to nurseries to grow plants for gardens.
The property is called 'Sarana' which is a name inherited from previous owners which Chris has since ascertained means "Sanctuary" in Sanskrit.
Chris studied Sanskrit for a year at University long ago, and realised the pronunciation is "Sharana" but decided to keep "Sarana". At any rate it is indeed a sanctuary and I trust you’re able from the above pictures to gain some insight into the beauty and fragility of the Australian landscape. The farm is located in a beautiful setting in close proximity to the popular Warrumbungle National Park, known for its rich old volcanic landscape and outback feel despite a relatively high rainfall.

The Warrumbungle Range is the most westerly extension of the Great Dividing Range, after you leave these mountains its uninterrupted, old, flat, dry Australia until you reach the MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia!

The photos show 'Sarana ' in landscape context, Chris with a harvest of E.blakleyi, Timor Rock from the hill with the observatory in the distance and Back Creek Rapids.
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Val said...

Beautiful countryside, especially the last photo. Was google maps used for the first one? I think they're released a new mapping feature recently, must check it out.

nvisiblewmn said...

Those are beautiful photos. I love that word, Sarana (and Sharana), too.

Josie said...

It's wonderful to see land conservation going on in countries all over the world.

I hope it isn't too little, too late.

Gorgeous photographs!

Al Gore won an Emmy this evening for his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth". I think it has opened a lot of folks eyes.

Lee said...

Thanks, Lindsay...this is a very interesting post. And great pics. :)

Ingrid said...

aah, you're talking about permaculture! saving native seeds and protecting native landscapes is going on worldwise thank goodness. People don't realize the many many organisms, great and small come out of these native landscapes. Much can be destroyed, not just vegetation, if invasive, non natives are introduced..
I'll have to read that interview when I have time later this week,

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Val,Nvisiblewmn,Josie, lee & Ingrid ~ thanks for all of your comments ~Val ~ Map is via Google.
Best wishes

Rachael Byrnes said...

Wow, Sarana is such an inspiration and I really enjoyed reading your article about it. I will have to ensure Chris reads these excellent comments too!

grannyfiddler said...

we have a few northern albertans doing similar things with our native grasses and wildflowers. some of them are VERY difficult to cultivate domestically.

Gina E. said...

Great post, Lindsay. I have heard about Sarana some time ago, as well as other properties being preserved the same way. I guess you know Steve Irwin spent a lot of his money buying up land all over the world for this purpose?

Gary said...

Australia is so unique... and so interesting. Good post and photos..

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Rachael, Granny F, Gina & Gary ~Thanks for your visits.
It’s a unique property with a large slice to be preserved in perpetuity; its seed produce helping to restore other habitants to their natural state.

ChrisWilliams said...

Thanks to Lindsay and everyone for their comments about Sarana. It is a beautiful place. My brother Geoff is working hard to create the vision while I live in Melbourne 1000kms away for my job at Trust for Nature. We are going to create our own blog to describe how the farm progresses. I'll let you know when it has some content