North Head Sanctuary

© Michael Hains/AWC

Quick Facts

  • Size/Area: 250 hectares
  • Bioregion: Sydney Basin
  • Mammals: 18
  • Birds: 144
  • Reptiles: 23
  • Amphibians: 7
  • Threatened Wildlife: 13
  • Plants: 430
  • Threatened Plants: 6

North Head Sanctuary sits on a sandstone headland on the north side of Sydney Harbour and is owned by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (Harbour Trust).

From 2009 – October 2023 AWC partnered with Harbour Trust to provide scientific advice and conduct wildlife translocations that brought back three locally extinct mammal species to the headland.

Despite its proximity to Sydney, North Head Sanctuary is relatively isolated due to its geography and historical use. Along with active management, this has allowed a number of species to persist in the area, and the sanctuary is now home to a diverse array of flora and fauna.

During its contracted period, AWC reintroduced three locally extinct species to North Head Sanctuary; the Bush Rat, the Eastern Pygmy Possum, and the Brown Antechinus. These small mammals play an important role in the ecosystem, acting as pollinators for many of the native plants in the critically endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub.

The reintroduced native Bush Rat has not only become established but is now one of the most common native mammal species on the headland. Populations of Brown Antechinus and Eastern Pygmy Possum are still establishing and displaying early signs of success.

Fire management at North Head is jointly managed by Harbour Trust, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and other government agencies. Fire management was not conducted by AWC, but AWC provided scientific support related to the role and impact of fire on the habitats of North Head Sanctuary, particularly the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub. In October 2020 a hazard reduction burn jumped containment lines and burned a substantial section of the AWC project area. AWC ecologists responded quickly by rescuing wildlife, installing temporary shelters and assessing the impact to the headland.

North Head is a publicly accessible area so the public can still visit North Head and enjoy its beautiful outlook and biodiversity. AWC is proud of the role it has played in restoring biodiversity at North Head.

Latest news from the field

T Henderson/AWC
News from the Field Press Release 18 May. 2024

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Mel Christi/AWC
Wildlife Matters 08 May. 2024

A joey in the pouch