Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1946, is one of the oldest private conservation areas in Tasmania. Much of the reserve (337 of the present 380 hectares) was gazetted in 1946 as a private wildlife sanctuary under The Animals and Birds Protection Act 1928 following application by the owners, Nan and Anton Chauncy. In 1988 the sanctuary was bequeathed to the local council (now the Southern Midlands Council) by Anton Chauncy with a later gift of the house and home paddocks by his and Nan's daughter, Heather.
Chauncy Vale is located 40km north of Hobart and 4km east of the township of Bagdad. It is the top end of a narrow valley running east-west between the Midland Highway and the Coal River Valley. The Sanctuary is managed by the Chauncy Vale Management Committee in accordance with a statutory management plan (1993). A revised Joint Management Plan with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) was completed in 2010 which covers both Chauncy Vale and the TLC’s neighboring Flat Rock Reserve. Flat Rock Reserve (455 ha), was transferred to the TLC on 25th August 2006, in partnership with the Southern Midlands Council, Gunns Limited, and the Commonwealth and State Governments. The new reserve is managed jointly by the Southern Midlands Council, Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania, and the TLC. Important natural values of Chauncy Vale and Flat Rock are listed in the tables below:
Chauncy Vale is visited by bushwalkers, bird watchers, field naturalist groups, family groups and school parties. There is a carpark with bus turning circle plus several areas suitable for picnics and gatherings with toilets, barbecues and a shelter hut available. Formed tracks lead to points of interest such as Secret Cave, Brown's Caves Creek, Guvy's Lagoon and Flat Rock lookout points.
Day Dawn, the house at Chauncy Vale, is of particular interest as the home of distinguished children's author, Nan Chauncy (1900-1970). This house was built mainly in slipform concrete by Nan's father and her brother, Jan, between 1916 and 1918. It was later extended by Nan and her husband, Anton, in the 1940's and 1950's. The furniture in the house is that which was used by the Chauncys in the 1960's.
There was no electricity at Day Dawn but the family enjoyed the simple and frugal life there and much of Nan's writing was inspired by the cottage's bush setting. A large fenced garden in front of the house contains typical hardy introduced shrubs and plants such as iris, lilac, rosemary, broom and large beds of daffodils. A big pine tree at the corner of the verandah was planted by Nan's family to commemorate the end of the First World War in 1918. It was in their early years of married life at Chauncy Vale that Nan and Anton extended the original property to include the large area of creek, cave and forest habitats which they then acted to protect by means of having it proclaimed a private sanctuary. The whole sanctuary is a valuable heritage and natural environment study site. It forms part of a complex environment with a rich diversity of ecosystems, varying from dry sclerophyll vegetation on sandstone to wet forest on dolerite clay. It is home to a considerable variety of native fauna and was used by Tasmanian Aboriginal tribes before European settlement and as a refuge by early bushrangers.
Opening Times & Fees
- Chauncy Vale is open 9 am to sunset daily, with the exception of days with total fire bans in the Southern Region.
- Entry fee is $2.00 per adult (No charge for children)
- "Day Dawn Cottage", the Chauncy family home will be open Tuesdays 10 am – 12 noon. It is necessary to make an appointment. Entry fee to house is $2.00.
- For school groups visiting "Day Dawn", there is a flat $20 fee.
Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary
Southern Midlands Council Kempton Office 03 6259 3011 or 0422 936027 after hours