in the nature

A home for people and nature

In 2021, environmentalist and Antarctic enthusiast Mark Savage purchased a ‘revolving fund’ property at Mitchelmores Creek from the Tasmanian Land Conservancy. We buy these properties, which have significant conservation value, on the open market, protect them with conservation covenants, then re-sell them to buyers keen to look after their own bit of nature. The money made goes back into the revolving fund to buy more property.

Mitchelmores Creek, near Little Swanport on the east coast, is a 95 hectare property that contains a significant stand of Eucalyptus globulus dry forest and woodland, eastern riparian scrub and Eucalyptus pulchella dry forest and woodland, an area of wonderful habitat for swift parrots. The area around Little Swanport has historically been extensively cleared, but Mitchelmores Creek uniquely contains significant remnants of old-growth and mature forest.

We asked Mark to tell us a little about himself, and what drew him to buying a conservation property. He sent us his answers from Mawson Station in Antarctica, where he’s currently working.

Mitchelmores Creek. Photo: Rob Blakers

I grew up in Melbourne, but my parents were keen bushwalkers so I spent a lot of time connecting with nature from an early age. I studied and worked in school outdoor education for many years. Like many mainlanders, I visited Tassie to bushwalk and climb, and moved permanently in 2003 with my then wife.

I’ve been working in Antarctica since 2017. I’m generally away for a year or so at a time and this is my third winter south. I’ve been looking for some land to buy for a few years. I have friends near Little Swanport and had been keeping an eye out for properties in the area – I was excited about this block but it was listed while I was in Antarctica in 2020 but was already under offer when I contacted the agent. I’d given up hope of buying it but then I found out it had been purchased by the TLC and was pleasantly surprised when it appeared for sale through the revolving fund. It was easy to make a quick decision.

I signed the contract without seeing the property, as I was thawing out in Cairns when it was listed for sale. But I knew the area, and friends and my ex-wife visited for me. So when I got off the ferry back into Tasmania I was keen to see my new block. The property has a wonderful feel to it; a vehicle track winds through open forest, the block rises up gently moving from black to white peppermint, gaining coastal glimpses of Freycinet and Schouten Island. In my early explorations, I found quoll scats, orchids, and listened to frogs in the creek. At night I could hear devils. There are some stunningly beautiful trees and places to sit. I don’t feel as if I am an owner of the property, more a custodian.

Mitchelmores Creek. Photo: Rob Blakers

I do want to build a house, and I am interested in a simple, sustainable build, something that encourages connection with place. I am currently exploring options with an architect and thinking about the idea of an artist residency too.

I’ve had a connection with TLC for many years, and am fortunate to be friends with some past and present staff and volunteers. By purchasing a property with a conservation covenant I feel I can make a difference. I’m pleased to know that purchasing Mitchelmores Creek will allow TLC to use the funds to protect other properties. I like knowing that at a personal level I can make choices that can have positive outcomes for places like this.

By purchasing through the revolving fund I benefit from the environmental assessment undertaken by the TLC and the covenant and management plan that give me guidance on how to protect the property. I have no intention of selling, but if I did it is pleasing to know that the covenant will continue to protect the natural values of the property. I have met some neighbours who have established environmental covenants on their properties and feels good to be part of community who value the natural environment.

Mark Savage enjoying his revolving fund property at Mitchelmores Creek.

To find out more about the revolving fund, visit Properties for Sale

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