Joy and Simon Enso opened their business Yelverton Brook Eco Retreat long before sustainability and ecotourism became a trend.
Margaret River locals, the couple first met in Geraldton as teenagers and were instantly smitten. In 1988 the pair bought the land on which Yelverton Brook stands and have never looked back. The 100-acre block is now home to a breeding program for the critically endangered Woylie (one of the smallest marsupials native to Australia) and the Western Ringtail Possum. Today the couple are passionate crusaders for the protection of local wildlife. Yet their original plans for Yelverton Brook was to establish a tourism venture with “green ideals”.
When Joy and Simon first moved into a shed on the vacant block, it took a few years before they began building the first of their mudbrick chalets for their guests. Each chalet was fashioned with hand-made mudbricks and Jarrah sourced from the property. The buildings were positioned to take advantage of daily sunshine and deliver privacy to guests. It was a labour of love that took several years to complete.
In 1992 Yelverton Brook opened to visitors and not long after guests were telling Joy and Simon of their encounters with local wildlife whilst staying on the property.
Inspired by the interactions, in 2001 with the assistance of Australian Conservation Trust volunteers, the couple built a predator-proof fence around the entire 100 acres to keep out foxes and feral cats, protecting the local wildlife.
The 2.4km’s of feral proof fencing has transformed the property into a ‘Wildlife Conservation Sanctuary’ specialising in a safe release site for critically endangered native wildlife and assisting the return of the bush land to an ‘Eden status’ for local fauna. Other works have included the re-clearing of walk trails and the spreading of 72 tonnes of crushed limestone to prevent the spread of die-back disease.
All conservation efforts on the property is self-funded by the couple’s accommodation business which has Advanced Accreditation with the Ecotourism Association of Australian.
In fact, Yelverton Brook celebrates 20 years of accreditation with the Ecotourism Association this month and is inducted in the organisation’s Hall of Fame.