Flinders Ranges and Outback 

Leigh Creek

Information in Deutsch

The Northern Flinders Ranges and adjoining desert areas are part of  the real Outback of Australia. Leigh Creek and  the Northern Flinders Ranges have some of the most diverse environments and sceneries of Outback Australia. Whilst many travellers are in a rush to go to got further away and only stop for fuel and food, a short trip to the Aroona Sanctuary  provides visitors with an opportunity to see a very unique and beautiful place.

The Aroona Sanctuary is one of the best examples in Australia in environmental rehabilitation in Australia. By 1985, the lands of the Aroona Sanctuary were badly degraded. Massive numbers of rabbits and feral goats depleted the native vegetation. The vegetation loss had lead to extensive sheet and gully erosion. Widespread soil erosion also caused rapid silting of Aroona Dam. A large scale environmental rehabilitation project was started in late 1985 under the guidance of Beat Odermatt, the local Environmental Scientist, . Rehabilitation was done by destroying rabbits and feral goats and by undertaking erosion control works, such as disk pitting and the construction of water velocity reducers. The removal of rabbits and feral goats helped the native vegetation to return. Over 1 Million of trees and shrubs emerged in the degraded area and silting of waterways and Aroona Dam became drastically reduced.


In 1995, the Government of South Australia declared the area around Aroona Dam  a Flora and Fauna Sanctuary. Within less than 10 years, a extremely badly degraded area had recovered to an situation where it could again support a diverse range of native plants and wildlife. The  Aroona Dam area rehabilitation programme became an proof that our native lands are not fragile, but incredible resilient. The programme provided proof that many of our degraded lands can be rehabilitated  by removing threats and competition to native fauna and flora.

In the meantime, a successful captive breeding programme of Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies at Monarto Zoological Park in South Australia had become too successful . The  Royal Zoological Society of South Australia and scientists from the SA Department of Environment and Heritage were looking for a suitable site for the world's first free release of captive Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies. The Aroona Dam Sanctuary was chosen as the best site. A control programme was initiated to control potential predators such as feral cats and feral foxes.

In 1996, a small number of captive bred Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies was released in the Aroona Sanctuary. The released animals were closely monitored with the help of radio collars and keen volunteers and scientists . Monitoring was undertaken with the help of a large range of people,  such as local school students, mine workers and  scientists from other many Zoo's around Australia and the USA.

Desert Rose

Various stages of the Aroona Dam Sanctuary project became widely recognized. The project was awarded a total 3 SA State Landcare Awards and an Mining Industry Award  for Environmental Excellency. The project had become maybe on of Australia s most successful and mostly awarded environmental rehabilitation project. The Aroona Bio-Diversity Project was also supported by Landcare National Heritage grants from the Commonwealth Government and by active support from adjoining landholders.

The free released Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies have increased in numbers since 1995 and a new National Heritage Track makes it possible for visitors to visit the site and enjoy the natural assets of the area. It may be even possible for some lucky people to see some of these beautiful rare animals.

Another unforgettable experience is a tour of the Leigh Creek Coalfield. You can see some of the  biggest mining equipment in the world, working 24 hours a day to uncover coal  for the Port Augusta Power Stations. The Leigh Creek coalfields are now owned and operated by NRG Energy from Minneapolis, USA. 
 Leigh Creek Visitor Information Centre 08 86752723.