Waratah Wildlife Shelter

‘Waratah Wildlife Shelter’ is a small rescue and  rehabilitation for native Australian wildlife and we would like to spotlight the dedication, hard work and love that Raewyn Jeganathan has shown towards caring for injured animals at her centre.

Raewyn shared the inspiration and motivation behind the Waratah Wildlife Shelter with us.

I love animals, always have. I have always had a strong sense of social justice and found great fulfilment in feeling like I am making a difference.

I am passionate about actioning my values, actually doing something to make a difference.

I love being outside, enjoying nature – wildlife caring allows me to do this all the time!

About naming Waratah Wildlife Shelter 

I settled on the name Waratah Wildlife Shelter after spending quite some time researching the various languages of our Indigenous Australians as well as the stories and meanings behind various native flora. The Eora Aboriginal word ‘warada’ meaning ‘beautiful’ or ‘red-flowering tree’. Indigenous Australians consider the Waratah to be a symbol of regeneration, healing and strength. The nectar of the Waratah flower was used in medicinal tonics.

Acknowledging the original custodians

It was important to me to somehow acknowledge the original custodians of this land, they had a truly amazing relationship with the natural environment. They respected and admired our unique array of native animals and lived harmoniously with them. The colonial invasion of Australia was not only devastating for our native people but for our wildlife as well. No longer did the humans in this country live in harmony with the wildlife. They were hunted to excess for their pelts, driven out of their habitat for farms and towns and forced to compete with the introduction of multiple non-native animals which have wreaked absolute havoc on the ecosystem. 

I dream of a day when all Australians respect the land and its creatures like our indigenous people do. Only then will our ecosystems start to recover, only then can we start making reparations for what we have done. This is why my shelter is named after the Waratah flower, both to pay homage to the indigenous people and environment we have wronged and for the symbolism that the flower provides healing and strength.

Advice to someone who wants to make a difference

Even the smallest changes make a difference. You don’t have to wake up tomorrow and start a wildlife shelter. Knowledge is power, do your research, make yourself aware of how we impact wildlife, how things like farming, urban sprawl, roads etc are slowly killing them. Pick something small you can start with and work up from there. Big change is just a culmination of lots of little changes.


The work we do at the shelter is all voluntary. It highlights how little regard our nation has for the welfare of the wildlife. All the hard work is left to a select few volunteers when I really believe that our wildlife should be all of our responsibility.

Future directions for Waratah Wildlife Shelter and Harbord & Khan

We will be designing a unit of work for Design and Technologies middle years students based on building animal nesting boxes, knitting or sewing pouches for joeys and designing wildlife bridges. Waratah Wildlife Shelter will provide guidance, specifications and photos to support student learning for this exciting new STEAM project. You can contact Raewyn at the shelter through social media listed below. 

Raewyn Jeganathan  ‘Waratah Wildlife Shelter’