Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Australia's newest reserve to protect 1.5 million acres of the Kimberley

Marion Downs location

Australia's newest nature reserve will protect over 1.5 million acres of the central Kimberley, providing new hope for the region's threatened wildlife including iconic species such as the Gouldian Finch and the Northern Quoll.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), an independent non-profit organization based in Perth, announced today the acquisition of Marion Downs, a 289,000 hectare (710,000 acres) property in the Central Kimberley. Combined with the adjoining Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, already owned by AWC, the new Kimberley wildlife sanctuary will be one of the world's largest private reserves, covering 640,000 hectares (1.57 million acres) and extending over 100 kilometres from south to north.

AWC Chief Executive, Atticus Fleming, described the acquisition of Marion Downs as an historic moment for private conservation in Australia.

"Donations from AWC supporters around Australia and overseas, combined with a generous grant of $1.8 million from the Federal Government, have enabled AWC to create a vast new protected area of global significance."

"AWC's new reserve will protect a collection of pristine habitats in the heart of the Kimberley, one of the world's last great natural areas. Towering sandstone escarpments overlook vast savanna woodlands and deep gorges carved by the Hann River, which joins the mighty Fitzroy River on Mornington."

In total, the combined Marion Downs and Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary will protect more than 200 bird species, 33 mammal species and nearly 100 reptiles and amphibians.

Mr Fleming said that much of the Kimberley's wildlife had been devastated in recent decades by extensive wildfires and the impact of feral animals.

"The acquisition of Marion Downs will provide new hope for Kimberley species such as the Gouldian Finch, the Northern Quoll and the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren, which have been pushed to the brink of extinction."

AWC has already deployed a team of more than 10 land management and scientific staff at Mornington and Marion Downs, showcasing a new model for conservation based on active land management informed by field-based science.

The management priorities at Marion Downs will include fire management, feral animal and weed control and the maintenance of infrastructure.

"Buying a property is only the first step … the hard work for AWC begins now as we put in place measures that will protect and restore Marion Downs and its threatened wildlife for future generations".


For media enquiries, contact Atticus Fleming 0419 693 987