"Tarrawarra" is a truly impressive and unique farm. The 140 hectare farm supports a commercial cow and calf operation and has two kilometres of frontage to the Albert River on its northern boundary. Owned by Rob and Jenny Davies the property is located at Alberton West, approximately 18 kilometres south west of Yarram. The absolute feature of the property is its 8 hectare wetland, located in its centre.
In 1976 the Davies' bought the western part of the property before purchasing the eastern half 4 years later. "With our former lack of knowledge and appreciation of wetland ecology we have a history of draining wetlands in our past. With the "Tarrawarra" wetland once laying between two former dairy properties it is most likely its physical location that prevented this possible fate." When the wetland came under the Davies' ownership in its entirety, it underwent protection works that have transformed it into the wetland sanctuary it is today. Over twenty years ago it was fenced to prevent cattle access. This action saw water quality improve as well as vegetation naturally regenerate. Birdlife has since flourished with a wide range of species present including Pelican, Black Swan, Grebes, Herons, Coots, Ducks and many woodland species. This fencing project not only increased wildlife habitat but has given increased protection for stock.
Back in the 80's early signs of salinity were observed in an isolated paddock on the western side of the property. The Davies were quick to fence the area and they revegetated it with a mix of salt tolerant plant species. Swamp Paperbark (Melaleuca ericifolia) was one of the first species to naturally regenerate as well as Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) and Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus ovata). At the time, "Alcoa" was sponsoring saline affected sites by providing hybrid River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) tubestock, which was also added to the mix.
Rob and Jenny are active members of the Albert River Landcare Group and have been since it's inception over twenty five years ago. In 1987 the late John Crew organised the author of "Wildlife in the Home Paddock", Roland Breckwoldt, to speak to their Landcare group. Members were inspired by his examples of practical wildlife conservation as part of productive farming and Jenny & Rob saw this as an opportunity for action. They learnt further skills from completing a Whole Farm Planning course.
Since then Jenny has held both President and Secretary positions within the local Landcare group and for many years was on the YYLN Steering Committee. Her profession as a Teacher gave her a particular passion to encourage the YYLN to introduce support for environmental programs in local schools back in the 1990's. In 2007 Jenny was recognised for her dedicated work to Landcare and the environment by receiving an "Individual Landcare Award" by the Yarram Yarram Landcare Network.
Whilst Rob and Jenny have completed an enormous and significant project, they recognise that pest plant and animal control works are on-going. Removal or controlling Willows along their Albert River frontage is seen by them as being their biggest future challenge.
The Davies acknowledge the support and inspiration of their Landcare community and Government assistance. To date they have held several field days to hopefully inspire others to undertake protection and enhancement projects.
Demonstrating genuine stewardship values, we are fortunate to have dedicated members such as the Davies' family within our Landcare community.
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