Warrawong Bought Back the Lake

Narelle MacPherson and David Cobbold, the new owners of Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary, are thrilled to announce the purchase of Lake Cumbungi. The lake was the original water source designed and built to give life to the wetlands of Warrawong. However, it was sold, and seemingly lost forever, in 2006.

Warrawong Lake from yesteryear.

Thanks to the support and generosity of the people of South Australia, a Go Fund Me crowdfunding campaign, raised just over $45 000. That whole amount was put towards the $48 000 bill for stamp duty and fees, associated with buying back the lake. The actual purchase of the 14 acre property was completely funded by a loan from the Commonwealth Bank, which also funded the purchase of the Sanctuary in 2017.

Buying back the lake was considered crucial to resurrecting Warrawong’s ‘man-made’ ecosystem that once sprawled over 9 land titles and 85 acres.

Lake Cumbungi, the brainchild of controversial environmentalist, Dr John Wamsley, supplied water to the wetlands of Warrawong Sanctuary and created extensive habitat for the resident platypus. “Hollywood”, the most adventurous of the creatures, regularly followed the waterways to the header pond, right outside the café window, to the amazement of onlookers.

“We believe investing in a healthy, functioning ecosystem is a wise decision”, Ms McPherson stated. “Creating an Australian Garden of Eden, with abundant habitat for platypus, one of the most bizarre animals on the planet, is eco-tourism at its best”, Mr Cobbold opined.

Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary is considered by environmentalists the world over to be a significant and iconic property. It was the birth place of the feral proof fence; a fact recently highlighted by a visiting journalist from The New York Times.

“We feel South Australians know how lucky they are to have this National Treasure on their doorstep”, Mr Cobbold said. Ms MacPherson explained, “if we wear our uniforms to the supermarket, post office, petrol station… people stop us to say ‘thank you’ for re-opening Warrawong.”

Platypus are thought to be extinct on mainland South Australia, which makes the purchase of Lake Cumbungi a truly significant achievement. Unknown to most, there are 3 underwater observatories on the side of the lake. There are plans to develop the site as a platypussary, in conjunction with the Warrawong Sanctuary Foundation.

Sharing her vision, Ms MacPherson said, “There’s so much potential at Warrawong. This is going to be the envy of every other state of Australia.”

Mr Cobbold noted, “There’s just one last problem, but nothing SA Power Networks can’t fix. For some reason, the lake’s electricity supply is on a block that was subdivided a few years ago. So, even though we’ve bought back the lake, without electricity, we still can’t bring back the life.”

19 thoughts on “Warrawong Bought Back the Lake

    1. Thanks for the support Shona. Resurrecting Warrawong is definitely a labour of love. We hope to see you hear soon.

    1. Hi Christopher
      The “glamping” tents still exist, but they are well past their best. Most are unusable. However, we are working on developing the accommodation site as a joint venture. Hopefully staying the night at Warrawong is just around the corner.

  1. Could you please explain the Rewards system a bit more. How do I earn points and and the Ambassadors tour dates are not correct for 2019. 24th June is a Monday.

    1. Hi Jean
      The Rewards system was designed to help with the launch of our crowdfunding and to allow people to participate in our Ambassador program. We’re currently not running any promotions, as we’re so busy after the official opening. We hope to re-instate the Rewards system later, when we have staff, so they can run it.

  2. Brilliant, you two are truly inspiring, thankyou for bringing this SA Eden back and making it available again. John and Proof had made a true Australian wonderland and I remember fondly of walking through the park as a kid in awe. You two are special people and it’s SA win and WA loss that you have settled here. Great stuff!

    1. Thanks Jason. Great to have your support. We hope we can bring back Warrawong for the good folk of South Australia and all who visit this beautiful State.

  3. On your ‘Prices & Times’ web page you say that the bird-life is ‘testament’. No…’testament’ is for DEATH whilst the creatures are ALIVE! (I hope). ‘TESTIMONY’ is the word you want.

    1. Hi Norm
      Thanks for your proof reading. According to the Collins online dictionary, “If one thing is a testament to another, it shows that the other thing exists or is true.” Therefore, I think it’s fair to use it in the context you mentioned.

  4. I’m looking forward to coming back after 20 years. We held our wedding ceremony, party and booked out the entire glamping tents for the occasion. It will be 20 years in March so looking to book in a visit with our children. Well done for all your efforts and we look forward to the accommodation being available again soon!

    1. Thanks Leah. Warrawong is very much a part of the fabric of South Australia. It’s an honour to be in a position to resurrect the Sanctuary. We look forward to seeing you soon.

  5. Can you find it in your heart to help re-open Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary? Stay in touch with the story by following the Warrawong team on Facebook. Make a generous donation to their crowdfunding campaign on Gofundme. Or volunteer – come along to this beautiful place at Mylor in the Adelaide Hills and lend a hand. You will be glad you did.

  6. Visited Warrawong today after many years. Although it is smaller it’s natural beauty remains and it is still as important today, if not more important, as when it was first opened. Well done to Narelle and David for taking it on and best wishes for your future success. My Wife, our son, his partner and their 2 year old all had a great visit. It was so exciting to get up close and to interact with the animals. Come on SA, support this wonderful venue with a visit.

    1. Appreciate your support John. We’re doing our best, but we could always do with help. Warrawong is a remarkable Sanctuary and a living testimony to the work of Dr John Wamsley and Proo Geddes. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to bring it back to life.

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