Meet Our Local Sanctuary Owner

Learn all about the sanctuary and owner Brad Wilson who took over as the catastrophic 2019 bush fires hit Wollondilly. Brad's story, love for the sanctuary and plans for the future will leave you inspired.

Wildlife Sanctuary Owner posing with possum

First things first, tell us about yourself

I grew up in the Wollondilly suburb Thirlmere, attended Thirlmere Public School and Picton High School. I went on to study Zookeeping, Business Management, Tourism and Accounting. I have worked in many industries such as retail, media, hospitality as well as establishing two successful business in the import industry and pet supplies industry.

I have 3 children who joined me on a 4-year journey travelling Australia before taking over the management of the sanctuary. I have always been a keen wildlife conservationist and believe I am at my happiest when sharing my knowledge of Australia’s unique wildlife.

What about the Sanctuary?

The Australian Wildlife Sanctuary is dedicated to wildlife conservation and home to many resident animals. It was established in the 1960’s and is a state heritage listed property. The sanctuary consists of 220 acres of original “Bargo Brush” and was foundered by a group of people that were heavily involved in the early conservation movement in Australia.

How about the business side of things?

My family took over the business in 2019 just 2 months before the catastrophic bush fires hit Wollondilly. I love being involved here because we are making a difference to not only people’s understanding of wildlife conservation but to the lives of the animals that call the sanctuary home, earning the trust of an animal is an extremely rewarding experience.

Let’s get down to it…why Wollondilly?

Wollondilly to me is the definition of community. The people that live and work here are a tight knit group and are always willing to help each other out when in need. Wollondilly residents are a proud bunch and really care about their shire. No matter where you visit in the Dilly you  are always made to feel welcome.

What would you recommend as a ‘must see’ in the Dilly?

Obviously I am biased, it’s definitely the Australian Wildlife Sanctuary. Not only will you have an unforgettable experience getting close to nature, but you can also witness the strength and determination of a team of volunteers that have been through the devastation of the 2019 bush fires as they continue to rebuild the sanctuary.

Here’s a hard one, what’s your favourite Australian animal?

The Wombat, it is an animal of determination and strength coupled with a cheeky and mischievous personality!

Can you give us a sneak peek into what the future holds for the sanctuary?

You can expect the sanctuary to become at great tourist destination not only for locals but also for domestic and international tourists.

An exciting project that we are currently working on in the concept stage is a discovery playground where kids will be immersed in a fun and interactive learning bush themed nature play environment. This is an exciting project that will involve Aboriginal culture learning opportunities and community engagement.

And just for fun… What’s your favourite movie?

I am more a documentary watcher than movies but one movie that comes to mind and I probably shouldn’t admit this, but The Notebook has been watched multiple times.

Find out more about the Sanctuary