Welcome to Brookfield Conservation Park! Brookfield is located in South Australia, a little over an hour outside of Adelaide. It is a government owned park that is managed by Conservation Volunteers of Australia. When CVA and I began planning which sites were priorities to cover, Brookfield came up pretty quickly due to its significant location in the South Australian Murray Darling Basin. Brookfield is home to a large variety of flora and fauna species.
Managing a park like Brookfield is not an easy task. Since the park is owned by the government, it must be made available to the public. The CVA staff at Brookfield have struck this incredible balance between public access and conservation work. Volunteers have created trails throughout the park for the public to use. By creating these trails and picnic areas, it makes for an enjoyable experience for those wanting to use the park while protecting vital wildlife areas.
Wildlife is abundant throughout Brookfield. Here is a Sand Goanna. It’s a fairly large monitor lizard which is out quite a bit during the day to soak up the sun and look for food.
Brookfield is home to several threatened species, including the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat. Wombat mounts cover the ground around the park.
Wombats are nocturnal so we unfortunately did not see any turning our time at Brookfield. We did find quite a bit of their poo, however. Terry, our guide, explained to us that Wombat poo is square shaped. Since they live in a very harsh, dry climate, it takes wombats a really long time to digest their food (a whopping 14-18 days!). This allows them to absorb every possible nutrient in their food including water. Due to the lack of moisture, their poo comes out in block shapes. Wombats will actually stack the blocks on top of each other. There is either a really good explanation for it or it’s a wombat’s version of Jenga.
These pictures are of the remains of a home built in the 1920s by a French World War I veteran who moved to Australia to begin a new life with his wife. How he found this area or why he chose to live here is somewhat of a mystery.
He used what he could find in the area along with war supplies he brought with him. As a history nut, you can imagine how excited I got to go through the “house” and see the old tools, canvas sacks and canisters from the war.
To make a living, the man dug these deep pits around the property and lined them with bricks and stones. He would wrap and slow burn wood and other materials in these pits to create coal, which he then would sell when the trains came through.
Brookfield Conservation Park is also home to several more modern buildings. This research site is out toward the back of the park. Universities and research groups will spend summers living at this site. It is a fully functioning campground with showers, a kitchen and solar panel generators. The group that was using the site during our visit was from a university in the Chicago area. They were conducting research on the beautiful blue wren.
Brookfield also hosts school groups from around the world at their main facility.