Kurlana Mallee Sanctuary
The Lifeflow Centre established its bushland retreat sanctuary, Kurlana Mallee Sanctuary, in the early 1980s in the Murray Mallee region of eastern South Australia (about 200 km east of Adelaide) in the Riverland. Meditation practices undertaken here have been primarily focused on direct contact with the surrounding natural scrub land and native animals in a setting that requires attention to the delicate balance and interconnection of all life forms.
The Murray Mallee region of SA has been extensively cleared and developed for dry land farming over the past 90 years, usually on an indiscriminate basis on land with low productive potential and with little regard for the natural ecology of the region. Less than 15% of the original vegetation remains, often separated into small islands and narrow strips along roadways. Severe habitat loss and threats to the rich native plant bio-diversity and animal species have been the very visible result. Current government efforts to reverse this devastation are focusing on re-vegetating a 20 kilometre wide strip along the southern side of the Murray River in which the sanctuary is located.
Lifeflow took the opportunity to have a positive influence on the survival and health of the area in 1985 by purchasing a 400 hectare block adjoining the original retreat location. This incorporates 310 hectares of original old growth remnant mallee placed under a Heritage Agreement to secure the protection of the habitat in perpetuity. It is the only property in the immediate region which still has old growth uncut mallee which is an extremely important resource in providing nesting sites.
This area also adjoins another heritage-listed area, combining to create one of the largest single blocks of uncleared mallee vegetation in the Murray River's project area. The Lifeflow Board and Members place a very high regard on the conservation value of this unique area and their stewardship of the property. Cleared areas are already being progressively returned to natural habitat involving the direct seeding of 30 cleared hectares with local native species. A further 60 hectares is being successfully re-vegetated. Lifeflow has received supporting grants from the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) for this important re-vegetation project, working closely with the local council.
The sanctuary protects native flora and fauna and is home to many species of endangered birds and plants. The South Australian Ornithological Association has conducted a number of surveys in the sanctuary and has listed 200 species of birds found there. A survey of the flora has listed a number of endangered species, featured in The Mallee in Flower published by Parks Victoria (1989).
In addition, Lifeflow has progressively restored the settler's homestead in keeping with its heritage construction, affording retreatants the opportunity to connect with bushland living experiences of a bygone era in an isolated setting far away from the haste and distractions of suburban and inner city life.
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