Katandra Bushland Sanctuary

0431 857 407

Katandra's History

Garigal and Cannalgai were the Aboriginal groups living in the Pittwater and Northern Beaches area near Sydney in 1788. They were part of the Guringai language group. Their coastal environment provided an abundant supply of their staple diet, seafood. Birds, reptiles, marsupials, roots, berries, fruits and nuts were also part of their diet, and were no doubt gathered from the surrounding Pittwater bushland. During the years 1789-1790 many of these people died from introduced diseases, others moved away in the face of the advancing tide of European settlement.

Katandra Bushland Sanctuary is situated in the Northern Beaches Local Government area on the face of the Ingleside escarpment, overlooking the Warriewood Valley and the seaside suburb of Mona Vale. The land presently comprising the Sanctuary was part of a grant in 1859 to a Robert McIntosh of Botany. It changed hands in 1885, and again in 1913 when a sub-division was effected. Twenty-five acres was purchased by a Roseville businessman, Harold Alfred Seymour, on 3rd December, 1946. We acknowledge that the name Katandra originates in Victoria, where it is said to derive from an Aboriginal word meaning birdsong or a hunting area, but Mr Seymour was unlikely to be aware of that.

Mr Seymour took up residence on his land, living first out of his car, later in a succession of army-surplus huts, before having a brick and stone cottage built . He delighted in his surroundings, enjoying both the native flora and fauna, including 'Koala', still to be seen. He loved to share his 'bushland' with friends, taking them for long rambles through the undergrowth, as initially there were no paths to follow. He became well respected for his knowledge of indigenous flora, thus earning the friendship and support of people well known in the world of natural history and conservation. Alarmed at the advancing tide of settlement, Mr Seymour, in 1964, offered eighteen acres of his land as a gift to the people of NSW to establish a wildlife reserve for the promotion, study and preservation of native flora and fauna. He chose the name ‘Katandra’ - meaning ‘song of birds’ - and with a band of friends and supporters formed the ‘Katandra Bushland Club’.

The Katandra Bushland Sanctuary was officially gazetted Reserve No 86487 on 6th October 1967. Seven Trustees responsible for the management of the sanctuary were appointed in 1968. The first President of the Trust was Mr R H Anderson, Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney. Katandra was officially opened by the Minister for Lands, the Hon. Tom Lewis on 8th September 1968.

Harold Seymour later sold a further five acres to the Crown for addition to the Sanctuary, to which the NSW Government added some adjacent Crown Land and unmade Road Reserve, so that the reserve now covers approximately 28 acres. The Katandra Bushland Club is now known as the Friends of Katandra and has continued its support of the Sanctuary into the 21st Century. Harold Seymour died at Katandra on 16th December, 1987, the eve of his 94th birthday.

Harold at the official handover of his land to the NSW Government with then Minister for lands Tom Lewis (1968)

Harold with NSW Minister for Lands Bill Crabtree (1970s)

Harold Seymour (1893 - 1987)

A plaque in Katandra honouring Harold's generosity

In 1981 Katandra hosted 40 botanists from around the world in a visit from the International Dendrologists Society. John Codington, President of the Society, is shown above presenting Harold with a book in thanks for his hospitality.

People of Katandra

Above from left

1. Don Seymour addressing a meeting with Doug Dickson (partly obscured) and Harold Seymour.

2. Poppy Baker in conversation with MP Bruce Webster. Don Seymour is in the background, 1975

Above from left

1. Helen and George Veitch (centre) with Don and Ruth Seymour 

2. Don and Ruth Seymour

Above from left

1. Don Seymour, Councillor Eric Green and Norman Townsend

2. Nan and Norman Townsend

Above from left

1. Ron Seymour, Don Seymour, ? , Harold Seymour, Stan Scotchmere, Marjorie Dodds, ?, ? ,Charlie Goodman, Poppy Baker, George Veitch 

2. Harold Seymour addressing a meeting with Doug Dickson (right) and Don Seymour (seated)

P.O.Box 365 Mona Vale 1660

0431 857 407


Sun:10 am-4 pm (July to Oct inclusive) , Mon-Sat: Closed