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.
Sanctuary is situated in the Pittwater LGA 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.
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.