Lot 100, Ochtertyre Street, Deniliquin NSW 2710

Island Sanctuary

An Island Sanctuary and... a bushrangers resting place!

Who would have thought that the Island Sanctuary located in the Deniliquin CBD, where there are kangaroos, possums, bats, and birds aplenty amidst the river red gums and the mighty Edward River... contains the final resting place of an infamous bushranger!

This beautifully preserved nature sanctuary is the burial site of 'Old Jack', a member of the Melville gang. A gang of bushrangers who visited Deniliquin in 1851 and caused quite a stir. Apparently Old Jack was so drunk one evening that his compatriots tied him to a tree and threw turpentine over him, thinking it to be water. As his hollering increased one gang member approached him, thrust a candle towards his face muttering, “what’s wrong, you old coot?”, and Jack burst into flames!

Once untied he threw himself in the river but died after two days. He was given a bushman’s burial in the nearest patch of soft ground on the other side of Tarangle Creek, at the base of what’s now known as Jack’s Tree. According to folklore Captain Melville was found dead in a cell at the Melbourne Gaol in 1857. On the wall of his cell he had scrawled a final message, “I am Captain Melville but I did not murder Old Jack!”.

The days of bushrangers has well and truly passed, so you can rest assured of a safe venture through the Sanctuary these days. 

Its a beautiful walk in the heart of town and you are sure to spot plenty of wildlife who to this day, keep Old Jack company!

Exploring the sanctuary

Adjacent to the main street the Island Sanctuary, is still to this day preserved in its natural condition. A footbridge leads from the footpath into this area where a walking track winds its way through four hectares of red gum bushland. It also forms part of the Beach to Beach walk, from McLean Beach along the river to Willoughby’s Beach.

It’s the perfect spot for a picnic with plenty of grassy spots or picnic tables to choose from. The sanctuary is also pet friendly – just remember to keep your pooch on a leash, so you don’t scare the other wildlife.

Top tip: the sanctuary is home to over 100 bird species, so be sure to pack your binoculars! 

Guided Tours

Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre offer guided cultural tours of the sanctuary, where you can learn about the significance of flora and what it’s traditionally used for, you’ll also have an opportunity to view a scarred tree. Call ahead to book a tour on 03 5881 3312.


Memorial Drive
2710 Deniliquin , NSW
New South Wales AU