Lithgow’s Secret Creek Sanctuary is currently constructing a wildlife hospital and a cultural visitor centre.
In operation since 2001, Secret Creek Sanctuary is shaping up to be Lithgow’s next popular tourist attraction. The $1.3 million development also includes the addition of walking tracks around the sanctuary and into the neighbouring nature reserves.
The Wildlife Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre will serve the Blue Mountains and Central West region, which are surrounded by six NSW National Parks providing habitat to a variety of endangered and rare species requiring support in times of natural disasters.
The need for a wildlife hospital and rehabilitation centre has been exacerbated following the devastating 2019/20 bushfires in which many animals were killed or displaced and are in need of care to replenish numbers.
The Secret Creek Sanctuary are collaborating with Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital (BBWH) and their staff on the design function and fit-out requirements. BBWH will be the operational managers that will collaborate and partner with Australian Ecosystem Foundation and Secret Creek Sanctuary to carry out rescue and rehabilitation work.
The Cultural & Visitor Centre will become the new welcoming entry into the Secret Creek Sanctuary thanks to former NSW Government Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) funding.
A cultural arts centre will be located on the second floor of the visitor centre in collaboration with local Indigenous group One Mob to serve multiple uses including a gathering space for Aboriginal culture education groups, learning space for wildlife and ecosystems and a health and wellbeing community centre for the local community.
The new walking trails will be partly wheel-chair accessible and self-guided. It will start at the newly built Cultural and Visitors Centre and it will take visitors through the Sanctuary to view the various endangered species in their enclosures and natural habitats. Interpretive signs will be installed along the track to educate visitors about the site.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole met with the Secret Creek’s team to check on progress.
“The transformation of this wildlife retreat and tourist attraction is really coming together,” Mr Toole said.
“The visitor centre and walking trails will make Secret Creek Sanctuary more accessible and educational with the visitor centre also acting as a wildlife and environmental education classroom plus an events space for the local community.”
Mr Toole also said the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation hospital located at the sanctuary will provide a venue for the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native animals, with the 1000-acre Newnes Plateau serving as a release site.
“The new wildlife hospital will serve surrounding regions of Central West and Blue Mountains who are all lacking this type of care for our native animals,” he said.
“Funding for the projects at the Secret Creek Sanctuary are part of the recovery journey of the Lithgow region following the bushfires and helps us to continue repairing the social and economic fabric of our local community,” he said.
Secret Creek Sanctuary owner Trevor Evans gave a construction update.
“Frames are currently being erected on site for the wildlife hospital and the slab for the visitor centre is expected to be poured this week,” Mr Evans said.
“We have completed much of the walking trails installing steps, ramps and non-slip pads and will be working on handrails next.
“Our breeding programs of pygmy possums and other native animals have been very successful so there will be lots of animals for visitors to meet and learn about throughout the sanctuary.
“We are looking forward to welcoming back visitors to an improved and expanded sanctuary.”