Illyarrie Farm (named after the spectacular flowering gumtree Eucalyptus erythrocorys) not only shares its boundary with Lesueur National Park, but also much of its wonderful wildlife.
In 2016, Ash and Jude Sutherland purchased the Midwest farm to extend their wheat-sheep farming enterprise. More recently, with assistance from NACC’s Habitat Fencing Incentive, Jude and Ash made a substantial conservation commitment to Illyarrie by fencing-off more than 200 hectares of remnant vegetation.
This is not a first for Jude and Ash, they have also fenced-off and rehabilitated more than 150 hectares of native bushland on their other property in Perenjori.
Lesueur National Park covers 26,987 hectares and is home to more than 900 plant species – including acacias, hibbertias, leschenaultias, melaleucas, orchids and many other species.
These species extend over the boundary fence into the remnant vegetation of Illyarrie, as do the park’s fauna, which features an abundance of small mammals, reptiles and birds, including threatened species such as Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris).
— Sarah Gilleland (@Sarah_Gilly31) May 19, 2017
As the Sutherlands run sheep at Illyarrie, the aim of the fencing is to protect the native vegetation from destruction by stock, and to encourage natural regeneration. The Sutherlands also plan to continue their conservation works by conducting pest and weed management within the remnant.
“Conservation is an important part of our farming enterprise,” said Jude. “We believe that by looking after the land, the land will look after us. At least we hope so. If nothing else, the satisfaction of caring for such a beautiful landscape and watching it thrive is invaluable, you can’t put a monetary value on that.”
NACC’s Biodiversity Program Coordinator Jessica Stingemore said: “Although protected areas like Lesueur National Park are an essential part of Australia’s conservation strategy, it is be becoming increasing clear that public reserves alone will not protect our biodiversity.
“As such, private “reserves” and community partnerships play an integral part in achieving NACC’s Biodiversity Program land conservation objectives, and hence I would like to congratulate the Sutherlands for helping us undertake vital on-ground conservation work.”
Jude and Ash have extended their conservation efforts at Illyarrie by signing their site up with Land for Wildlife. Land for Wildlife is a voluntary scheme to encourage and assist private landholders to provide habitat for wildlife in bushland on their property. Signing up to Land for Wildlife reflects the Sutherland’s environmental values towards the future of their farm and their local environment.
This project was proudly supported by Northern Agricultural Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Illyarrie is notable for its big flowers which can be five centimetres across or more. They are bright yellow, being covered by a bright-red cap (operculum) in bud –giving the epithet erythrocorys (red-helmet). The common name Illyarrie is the Noongar people’s name for the plant.