Boolcoomatta is an ex-sheep station, established way back in 1840. Explorer Douglas Mawson undertook a number of studies there, before his more famous adventures in Antartica in the early 1900s. In its heyday, this massive 600 square kilometre station used to shear 100,000 sheep a year. Whilst it brought great prosperity to the region for many years, farming this fragile environment eventually took its toll, and the property’s commercially viability diminished.
Bush Heritage Australia purchased Boolcoomatta in 2006 and is painstakingly restoring the land to its original condition. Gone are the sheep, the goats, the pigs and many of the feral cats. Native fauna and flora is beginning to regenerate.
Water security is a major concern on this station, located some two hours four wheel drive west of Broken Hill. In 2014, Jord provided funding and engineering services to help overcome this challenge. The project involved the design and supply of various solar-powered pumps, rainwater tanks and piping to provide a combination of rain and bore water storage and supply facilities.
In October 2015, a dozen Jord staff enjoyed a long weekend on the property, engaging in some bush regeneration activities and experiencing first hand just how bountiful yet fragile Australia’s outback is.
Cravens Peak was singled out by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the top nature reserves in Australia. Located some 500 km south of Mt Isa, Bush Heritage Australia purchased this 2,300 km2 property on the northern edge of the Simpson Desert in 2005. Its red sandy dune fields, semi-permanent waterholes, Coolabah woodlands, and gibber plains boasts one of the richest reptile assemblages on earth.
While marginal and unpredictable for agricultural production, the relatively moist and fertile dune swales and temporary waterbodies are an important oasis, providing refuge to many desert animals that retreat in the dry times from the desert proper. A large number of regional and international migrant waterbirds follow seasonal rains to make the most of sudden bursts of productivity.
In 2015, Jord’s JET trust funded the installation of a 10 kW solar powered energy system to provide the necessary power that allows Bush Heritage residents and visiting scientists to conduct station management and research projects in relative comfort.
It’s hard to get your head around the scale of Bon Bon Station Reserve, an old sheep station south of Coober Pedy in South Australia. The reserve sits between the Great Victoria Desert and the large saltpan lakes of Eyre, Torrens and Gairdner, which are so big you can see them from space. At around 70 kilometres long and 30 across, it is the size of Sydney.
At its heart is Lake Puckridge, which fills up with water around once a decade and can run to seven metres deep. The lake’s wetlands system attracts large numbers of waders and waterbirds, including black-winged stilts, red-necked avocets and grey teals.
In 2014, JET funded a project to upgrade the water treatment and storage capability of the staff quarters. The project included the cleaning and bacterial decontamination of an old bore system, 1.5km of piping, water storage tanks and installation of telemetry equipment for automated pump operation.