There comes a time, if your living on a large acreage, to make the hard decision to 'downsize'.
For world-renowned wildlife cinematographer, Dr Jim Frazier OAM, and his partner Helen Grosvenor, they have made what has been a difficult and sad decision for them - to leave their idyllic and peaceful Bootawa home of more than two decades and move into town.
"I don't want to leave. But I've got to face up to the fact that I've got no energy anymore," Jim says.
Jim and Helen have devoted the last 23 years working on their 57-acre property to creating their own personal wildlife sanctuary.
While 30 acres of it is for grazing, currently agisted to a cattle owner, the rest has been thoughtfully nourished and regenerated to provide food and habitat for native fauna.
"I worked pretty hard when we first came here. I saw the potential to create a bird and butterfly garden," Jim says.
"We planted probably 1000 trees, shrubs, fruit trees. You name it, it's here. And it's all doing well, it's all worked.
"I was tuned in to providing a food source for birds and butterflies, growing the right food plants for them.
"Initially Helen and I could never go past a nursery without seeing what they had. They did pretty well out of us in Wingham, I know," Jim laughs.
Jim has recorded 57 different species of birds on the property over the years. When asked what was the rarest bird he has seen there, he answered he had spied a pair of jabirus (classified as endangered in NSW) at his dam.
On arrival at Tanglewood, as the property is named, you are greeted with a resplendent peacock (which will come with the property when it is sold). A large flock of finches feeds on a feeding station in the garden, covered in chicken wire so the tiny birds aren't chased away by bigger species - there's another feeding station nearby for the larger varieties.
While we watch a mother koala and her baby joey in a tree, brahminy kites fly overhead, calling, and butterflies flutter from plant to plant.
Close to Helen's heart is a pair of tawny frogmouths.
"They go to the same tree every year to raise their young, and they kick them out after a while. These pair know my routine. I come towards them and they stand up a little stronger. Like, 'here we are'," she laughs.
Occasionally, wallabies will wander through the property.
And there are nearly always koalas frequenting the trees. We saw three (including the joey) just near the house alone.
During the drought, Jim and Helen watered the gardens and trees around the house, ensuring there was enough moisture in the gum trees for koalas to feed from.
"I went around and counted 18 koalas," Jim said. "Out in the paddocks (the trees) were bone dry."
Jim and Helen consider the entire property an unofficial wildlife sanctuary, however they have deliberately fenced off a section in perpetuity as a wildlife corridor in a section that runs parallel to the Manning River.
Tanglewood has around 500 metres of river frontage, which includes a swimming hole. However they have never been affected by floods.
As well as food for the birds, butterflies and animals, there is also food grown for the two human occupants in what they call the 'food forest'.
Fruit trees abound, with mangoes, bananas, citrus, avocadoes and more. Jim's favourite is the starfruit. There are also 12 coffee trees, and a vegetable garden in a shed.
In addition to the three-bedroom home, there is a red cedar 'lodge' nearby, which is currently Jim's studio.
Jim and Helen are choosy about who they want to take the property over. This is not one for kids to ride dirt bikes around on. They want the new owner/s to be like-minded people, who will continue to maintain Tanglewood as a 'sanctuary'.
Tanglewood goes to auction on Thursday, August 25. Contact Craig Hailes of LJ Hooker Wingham on 0439 471 949 for more information.
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