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Last Committee



Oolong History

Conservation Program

Strategic Direction and Initiatives To Preserve Our Heritage - The Oolong Challenge and CarbonSMART

Habitat/Remnants, Crown Roads as Corridors and NSW Regional Plans

Farmers Changing Attitude, The Save the Bush Toolkit, Environmental Problems & other Initiatives on Conservation

Education IN The Environment - School Program

Bushfire Control

Bushfire Info

Latest Developments


Scientific Advisory Board


Flora Inventory

Fauna Inventory

Archaeological Sites and Findings

Statistical Model

Membership Details and Application forms

Location Details

This website is no longer being updated except in communications with the President Gianni William D`Addario.

Australia is in a state of war with bushfires!

Gianni W D'Addario

Gianni's story started in 1987 when he purchased 245Ha of land near Dalton on the Southern Tablelands. He was living in Canberra planning for his retirement from a long career as Geologist and volcanologist with the Bureau of Mineral Resources of the Department of Development as volcanologist in PNG and in Canberra as a major producer of continental geological and thematic maps.    
The property had majestic trees of the Box Gum Grassy Woodland (BGGW) assemblage. In the so-called triangle of a region of fine wool production. Superfine merino wethers on the property were producing about 4k of 17.5 microns fleece.

He firstly noted that some of the beautiful old trees were close to die since sheep camping under the tree were poisoning the ground. He removed immediately the sheep from that paddock and never lost another tree since. One is still recovering in the lambing paddock.

He was fascinated by the Australian bush and formed a charitable association the Friends of Oolong under the patronage of Dr David Suzuki and e has been its long-standing president. Membership grew fast after over 100 foundation members and interstate specialist groups assisted in the detailed recognition and classification of fauna and flora described and illustrate in a website.

At the time of the Canberra bushfire the Canberra Ornithologic Group identified all bird species in the ACT to be present in the Oolong Sanctuary, as a portion of the property was named. The property is rich of bird species including some recorded number of locally uncommon and unusual bird species have been identified by Jacqui Stol, CSIRO, who is now in charge of the stewardship monitoring program.

Testimonials on activities are listed on the web site for anybody to see. The association was eventually recognised and registered as an environmental organisation and endorsed by the Department of the Environment. He never used fertilisers and initially used goats to remove weeds. Conducted lectures by specialist for schools took place and the sanctuary is still open 24/7 for conducted tours and stud.

Additional trees were planted. A native bush the Sifton Bush, which is useful in terms of biodiversity but considered intrusive in this region, is removed by brush cutters ad piled up in places to provide refuge to small animals and a place for nests for birds.

Initially he had a caravan, then a small weekender, and later with assistance by his son Frank he added a residence with Frank transforming the large shearing shed in a beautiful residence for himself and his four children.

With the assistance of the Soil Conservation Service he resolved any issues with erosion and salinity where now a forest is developing across the property western boundary.

When the BGGW stewardship was announced in 2006 he put a very small bid for the 15 years program to continue the protection of the assemblage since he cared so much since the purchased the property. The access road is a truncated wildlife corridor, the diversion of which, is under development to let the fauna access to the north-east portion of the farm. Most of the property on hills and planes is stranded with trees. 18 dams and a lake were constructed, and wildlife is protected.

Major financial support has been received in the past by the president and members of the committees and the assistance from the Pathways to private land conservation agreements will be essential for the recognition and the continuation of the program. 

The Oolong Sanctuary website offers information for many kinds of related local and regional programs for the future. Gianni is now actively promoting a review of a national bush fire management and the report is available on the Oolong Sanctuary website. He has been a member of the Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) of the Northern Australia Irrigation Futures project (NAIF).

All activities, programs and initiatives reported on this web site are financed by donations and carried out and managed solely by volunteers of the Friends of Oolong, inlcuding the assistance of our long standing technical support by Jennifer Philips, which will continue, for further editing and additional notices.

Last committee. There are no more meetings and future projects will be demand based.

The Oolong Sanctuary is a volunteer-run wildlife refuge in remnant bushland on private land in southern NSW, Australia and is open to scientists, visitors and birdwatchers with conducted tours 24/7. For the history of the sanctuary please go to Oolong History.

About our seasonal war on bushfires. Bushfires are increasing as our climate changes. Cities are expanding into bush areas, and more people wanting to live in the bush demand adequate protection. Too often, they are told to abandon their homes, with great losses occurring.
Volunteers do a great job in containing small fires on accessible land, but are unable to operate effectively in rugged terrain or cope with the increasing number of lightning strikes. Three hundred volunteers repeatedly risked their lives to fight the latest disastrous bushfire in Victoria. They were unable to contain the fire, which became uncontrollable, but not through any fault of their own. To make matters worse, the low visibility and power lines prevented helicopters and fixed wing aircraft with water bombs from operating.

The National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) coordinates the lease of highly specialised firefighting aircrafts, including a few from overseas when available, but not in adequate numbers and neither NVG nor IFR capable. This vital equipment is needed to operate at night. Without it all aircraft and helicopters are grounded at night, allowing the fires to further develop and spread.

Erickson Aircranes helicopters with Night Vision capability and IFR qualified crews would require the approval by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to operate day and night (reply dated 11 March 2015).

We have been informed by the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) that only two Aircrane helicopters were available last year, and again this year. Last year, six Aircranes were used across Australia. It is not clear how many will be available this year outside Victoria. The NAFC has also advised that the Aircranes known as "Elvis" will not be available for use in Australia this year because they have been contracted to do some heavy lifting in South America.

The fire season in Victoria is starting earlier and lasting longer than it used to, with fire danger weather extending from October to March. By 2030, it has been estimated that the number of professional firefighters in Victoria will need to approximately double (compared to 2010) to keep pace with increased population, asset value and fire danger weather.
The total economic costs of bushfires in Victoria in 2014 are projected to exceed $172 million. In New South Wales, the total economic cost is expected to reach $800 million annually. However, the Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice declared to us in writing that maintaining the Aircranes is 'too expensive', while neglecting increasing temperatures that are driving further bushfire risk in all states and territories.

Deloitte Access Economics - Scoping Study on a cost Benefit Analysis of bushfire mitigation - May 2014. PDF
    2.1 Recent costs of bushfires: Victoria $1070 million, Canberra $660 million, Blue Mountains $180 million, Tasmania $87 million. (Page 21)
    2.2 Between 1967 and 1999 the average annual economic cost was $1.1 billion in 1999 prices. (Page 22)

To lease an Aircrane for 12 weeks costs $1.5 million, and an Erickson S64E Aircrane costs between $30 and $40 million.
It is essential and very urgent that the Australian Defence Forces take over the whole air operation from NAFC. They should lease or purchase as many Erickson S-64E models Aircranes as possible. In addition a feasibility study is needed to evaluate the possibility of a new Australian industry to produce our own Aircranes.

Aircranes equipped with special visual equipment and operating day and night without interruption would prevent the majority of fires from spreading out of control. Aircranes should be strategically located in each state and territories, possibly with a network of Drone aircrafts to detect any fires. The NVG operations should be managed by the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF), who could supply IFR qualified pilots. Aircrane maintenance costs and pilots training could be covered by the defence budget to reduce the expensive costs by states and territories as claimed by the Minister.

We must promote a petition with constituency support in each state and territory for an urgent review of bushfire control. We need donations to advertise our notices in newspapers. (Donations are tax deductible.) Can you help us?

For details on our progress Bushfire control - Review Submission.

For latest developments including Factsheet - click here


Oolong Sanctuary has 38 Projects

A beautiful naturally developed hollow. Unfortunately there are not many left! There are no natural hollows on young trees! They have to be at least 100 years old to have natural hollows for wildlife to nest in. The Friends of Oolong have temporarily resolved this problem by stacking branches of woody weeds in small heaps. Birds, insects and other species nest and breed in them! See Project 31 on the Projects page.

A nocturnal bird peeks out of its hollow. We are trying our best to restore the birds' habitat through the construction, setting and monitoring of artificial nests. They are coming back but we need more volunteers to continue this program.See Project 13 on the Projects page.

Information for schools Our fully illustrated inventory on Fauna and Flora is a major environmental educational tool. Teachers and students in south-east NSW and the ACT can participate in the development of our program and a syllabus on education in the environment. This involves putting students in direct contact with our bush to develop awareness and concern for the environment. For details go to Education IN The Environment.

A Campus at Oolong for our volunteers! We are developing a campus to accommodate overseas, interstate and local volunteer,the Green Army and Landcare members. Specialists involved in our projects will train volunteers.
Schools from SE NSW and the ACT will work on projects in the field and on assignments.

Vermin's Patrolling and Trapping Dr Tony Saunders, Our bird's specialist in his last visit in November 2009 noticed a decline in birds at the sanctuary. We have initiated an intense program of trapping with suitable baits to attract wild cats. They apparently enjoy smoked ham and cannot resist it! So far we have trapped ten wild cats just around our buildings: two very large (a male and a female) and others of several sizes. Wild cats as we trap them are delivered to the Shire Council office in Gunning from where the RSPSA officers collect them.
We are no longer accepting donations

The Box Gum Grassy Woodlands Project. The key objective of this Environmental Stewardship is to improve and maintain the quality and extent of endangered ecological communities: the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands. The remainder of Dalton Park, outside the sanctuary has been selected to be in this project the management of which extends over 15 years.
The Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU will be conducting independent and thorough reptile, bird, mammal, and vegetation surveys on the property over fifteen years. The CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems will investigate the relationship between native pastures, rotational grazing and biodiversity over three years.

An Aquaponics system. This project on sustainability is set on 2 ha of the farm proper by our volunteers. Visitors will be welcome to see the operation which is a corollary to the other projects on private land at Dalton Park.

Control of serrated tussock.We have introduced a White Dorper sheep flock to test their capacity to control this weed.

Dalton Park Hatchery. The Dalton Park landholder used to breed ostriches. To be able to support all Friends of Oolong projects he has set a hatchery managed by experts. How valuable is our bushland?
Click to view Oolong Sanctuary History

Dragon Fly and Pollution
"The most advanced flying machine, a masterpiece of nature, the dragonfly, but if water is polluted it is the first to disappear" G.W.D'Addario

(photo: M.Hines, Oolong)

Establishing Wildlife Corridors
The Friends of Oolong support the following plans with contributions to communities to reforest private land, and incentives to landholders.

  • The Southern Wilderness Protection Plan 2005
  • The Lachlan Action Plan of the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority
  • The Grassy Box Woodlands as Bush Heritage Anchor Region
  • The Grassy Box Woodlands Conservation Management Network
  • The State and Federal plan for a 2800 km coastal wildlife corridor.
  • The recognition of native vegetation remnants as nature reserves
To read more about these major developments click here

Habitat/remnants as nature reserves and crown roads as links on private land
To read more about this development click here and browse to "Developing wildlife corridors within private properties".

A statement by our patron

"All over the world, human activity is destroying irreplaceable habitats and causing a major crisis of species extinction. Human beings remain dependent on nature to cleanse, create and replenish air, water and soil and to capture sunlight. We are biological creatures whose need for these services of nature cannot be replaced by economic or technological activity. Therefore, at this critical stage in human development, we have to protect every ecosystem and species we possibly can if our children and their children are to have the richness of health and opportunity their forebearers had. Australia's unique landscape is under heavy attack and it's fragile ecosystems threatened as never before. Will Australians think beyond the deadlines dictated by economic and political pressures and opt for action that will sustain future generations? I believe they will. I acknowledge the need for research towards the understanding of habitat/remnants linked by corridors and support the Oolong Sanctuary programs and Friends of Oolong long-term committment to conservation."
David Suzuki

We have selected a state-of-the art environmental compost dry toilet capable to take care for up to 24 people in any one day: The Rota-Loo. Please ask us if you like imformation on this dry toilet eminently suitable for any bush accommodation and to save our precious water.

Galapagos Islands
Galapagos ecotours. Everything you need to know about the Galapagos Islands. Boats, cruises, yacht charters, natural and human history and conservation issues in the Galapagos Islands.

Web site maintenance was by Gianni W D'Addario with Technical/Design help from   Jennifer Kathleen Phillips