Friday, 20 March 2015

Wirrimbirra – Home of the White Waratah

Yes, there IS a White Waratah and it can be found at Wirrimbirra Sanctuary in Bargo NSW.

Wirrimbirra is a flora and fauna sanctuary of over 200 acres of preserved native bushland. The area was originally part of what ws known in colonial times as the 'Bargo Brush' but known and frequented, much longer by the traditional aboriginal peoples including the Dharawal people

The White Waratah is just one of the many unique flora found in the area. A beautiful Dharawal legend tells the story of how the Waratah became red (See the story below)

The volunteer run sanctuary is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of Australia's unique flora and fauna with the focus being on environmental and wildlife education.

Koala Day

As part of its commitment to wildlife education it will be holding a Koala Day on Sunday 12th April 2015 between 10.00am and 3.00pm

Visitors will be able to meet and have photographs taken with a Koala between 11.00am and 12 noon. Talks on the day will feature the dangers Koalas and their habitat are facing.

There will also be Kids Painting Competition featuring Bargo Billy and a jumping castle.

For further information please contact Wirrimbirra Sanctuary,
3105 Remembrance Drive, Bargo
Tel: (02) 4684 1112 Fax: (02) 4684 3120
Bargo is situated in NSW, 94 km south west of Sydney and 3k. off the F5 freeway, between the Picton and Mittagong exits.

Legend of the White Waratah
Our story begins with Wonga the Pigeon who used to live in the bushland with her mate. They would spend their time on the floor of the forest gathering food and had a rule never to get out of one another's sight. They had to stay below the trees because they knew that in the land of the sky lived the Hawk - their deadly enemy.

One day when Wonga and her mate were out looking for food they got separated. Wonga called out to her mate but there was no reply. After searching around the lower branches of the forest Wonga decided that the only hope of finding her mate before dark would be to fly above the trees. She flew towards the tree-tops and into the clear blue sky and started calling for her mate.

Eventually Wonga found her mate way down beneath her but not before the Hawk had spotted her. He had seen Wonga and was hurtling towards her with his strong beak piercing the air. Hawk caught Wonga with a crushing grip from his great brown talons tearing her breast open as he hauled her upwards. Wonga desperately tore herself free from Hawk and plunged downwards towards the forest below.

Unable to fly, she landed bleeding and broken in a patch of waratah bushes. Her blood trickled down onto one of the white waratah flowers. She tried desperately to reach her mate by dragging herself from flower to flower staining each of them a deep red with her blood as she went. Eventually Wonga lost her battle with life and died as she laid upon the waratah bushes.

This is why today most waratah flowers are red, coloured by the blood of Wonga the Pigeon as long ago she flew from flower to flower in search of her mate. Sometimes, although it is very rare, it is still possible to find a white waratah just as they were back in the Dreamtime.


  1. A very sad and touching story. The only other white waratahs I've seen have been in the Blue Mountains, in the Windyridge gardens at Mt. Wilson. Must visit Wirrimbirra again! :) george