Immerse in art and nature at Wanderslore

Ben Cullen examining a fern at Wanderslore Sanctuary. 198637 Picture: ROMY STEPHENS

By Romy Stephens

This year, Friends of Wanderslore will join forces with Lilydale High School to bring the annual Wanderslore Sanctuary open day.

The property will open to the public on 27 October and is set to feature an art exhibition from Lilydale High School students, in celebration of the schools centenary.

It will also be a chance to acknowledge the person who made Wanderslore possible, Constance ‘Connie’ Coleman.

Connie was an artist, poet and Lilydale High School teacher.

She had a deep connection to the Upper Yarra Valley after inheriting a fishing shack in Launching Place, which soon became the nucleus of Wanderslore.

Prior to her death in 1990 Connie saved her money and bought neighbouring properties, before gifting the entire 10-hectare space to the Victorian Conservation Trust (now Trust for Nature).

Friends of Wanderslore’s conveyor of committee and management, Geoff Durham, said Connie’s wish to keep the Sanctuary preserved means it’s rarely open to the public.

“Connie was very firm that she didn’t want it open to the public, it’s for the birds and the animals,” he said.

“She didn’t want the public spoiling it. So we have the policy of only having one public open day a year.”

Visitors that attend the open day will not only be able to enjoy the art display, but they can also attend guided or self-guided tours throughout the property.

A range of animals can potentially be spotted, with the site hosting wallabies, wombats, echidna, antechinus, possum species, bats reptiles and a profusion of bird species.

Vegetation types include Indigenous trees, shrubs, grasses, orchids and the popular fern forest.

Visitors can also find the internationally recognised rare fungi, Tea-Tree Fingers, which drew the likes of international fungi experts to the site earlier this year.

Trust for Natures Port Phillip and Westernport manager, Ben Cullen, said open day visitors can not only learn about the site’s history but also enjoy the beautiful nature on offer.

“This is a great chance for the community to come along and see what’s in their own backyard and enjoy some of the natural values they live amoungst,” he said.

The open day will take place behind the car park at the Home Hotel in Launching Place from 10am to 4pm.

For more information, contact Linda Clarke on 5964 6543 or

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.