Rocklily Wombats

Building a wombatorium & portable release pen

This set of pages has the following information (if you want any further information please feel free to contact us via the link at the top right of the page):

– Wombatorium Build
– Joey/transport box
– Moveable soft release pen


Wombatorium Build
We managed this as a 2-day working bee for 7 people. Basically our wombatorium is 18 roller doors dropped on their sides into a 1-metre trench and bolted together. It contains 2 starter burrows, a large tree for scratching and play, 3 trees for shade, pockets of bracken and nettle (as there is lots of that around) and an A-frame roof over the burrows, plus a human door and a wombat door. We used an additional 1.5 doors for 2 A-frame covers and tin to cover the starter burrow.

Final wombatorium, we just need to put in a ground level wombat door. The main door is high so you cannot get charged at so easily by the wombats. This is about 20m long by 11m wide using 18 doors.

We needed:

Roller doors – You can get free roller doors from most installers as they go for scrap metal anyway. The springs and coils through the middle plus any handles and other bits need to be taken off – this took us about 4 hours. This can all be recycled for free.

Extra materials – We needed hinges and latches for the wombat & human doors, wood to reinforce doors and build A-frame and support the tin in the burrow cover. If you use 1 or 2 roller doors for the covering this would make 19 doors needed.

A trencher – The hole needs to be close to one metre deep and only about 20cm wide. We ended up with a wider trench as that’s what was available locally. We used him to dig the starter burrows and backfill as well – about half a day’s work.

A water bowl – The water bowl needs to be strong.

Tools – A drill and a pile of screws with nuts. We used 2 each end of each door to join. Put nuts on outside; they are a choking hazard.

Extras – Heavy twine or rope with fabric tied to it, to be tied across the wombatorium to discourage eagles and powerful owls.


Here’s a sample schedule:

Day 1  Remove all bits from doors and stack flat in piles, you get a better job if you stack in the same widths so they go up together. We weeded stinging nettles from the area. Draw a paint line for your trencher to follow.

Day 2  Trencher starts digging started burrows first, then, if needed, drags in any large tree stumps needed as play equipment for wombats. Then he can start on the door trench, putting dirt on outside of the burrow, with just the odd one inside to pack any gaps. If you can make it at least 16 doors around preferably bigger is better. Once the digger is out of the way you can start dragging doors into position; you need to pack the base to keep it upright, drilling and joining doors together with 2 screws and nuts per join.

At the same time you will need to build the A-frames plus the burrow covers. You need to make the door before you close it up, it’s easier to get out! So give everyone jobs and keep well away from the digger.

One metre deep, with 80% of dirt placed on outside, pace it out so you know you have enough doors. Here are Lilly & Pop inspecting the trench.

Started burrow about 1.5m long with wooden supports under tin cover with soil for insulation. This will be under straw & A-frame













Alternative starter burrow, plastic draining pipes about 45cm across picked up on council cleanup. The wombats can continue the tunnel. You still need the A-frame and hay for wombats to escape to if burrow floods.

A frame over burrow, straw shelter inside. Wombats need to be able to get out under sides of A-frame.













Dragging doors into position. We fitted a top (curved edge) with a bottom (flat) together so it was easier to bolt together. Dirt really holds them in position.










Jukie the human wedge holding doors upright while they are bolted together and bottom filled in.


Still going, still smiling!











Testing peep hole, note door reinforcing on inside and outside as the metal is sharp.



Digger back filled trench and cleaned up outside, a bit of spadework on inside to pack doors tight, and all done!



Joey/transport box t
This is to house your small joeys in or move larger ones around. This one was built by Tracy & Jerry and is great. It has wheels on the bottom, handles, a mesh top and an door in the end to release them straight into the burrow. This photo is of Wilber at around 30kg so he makes the box look small. When transporting wombats if it’s warm you need air conditioning in the car and maybe a few frozen drink bottles to keep them cool.

Wilber’s box. We made ours bigger as we have 2 wombats. They are great for transporting and also when the wombats are little.

Our Box – We made it to just fit inside our car, so it’s 112 cm long x 70 cm deep x 54 cm high + wheels and has a door in the end like Wilber’s. We have a winter lid with holes drilled in it and a mesh summer lid as wombats do not like the heat. Ours is secondhand 10 ply with 3 coats of varnish on the inside floor so it can be cleaned easily. The rest has 2 coats of varnish.

Our box with winter lid, with holes drilled in it.


Moveable soft release pen’s for wombats

April 2017 Latest Updated Pen is 6km from Rocklily at Nick’s place . Having thought and learnt from our first pen, we have made some simple improvements.  It’s 9 m x 9 m and made from 50% primary school fencing, we used 6m x 1.2m wire mesh pannels from rural suppliers to stop dig in and out. we have added a bigger roof to cover burrow and catch water for a 200lt water feeder. It’s covering the burrow and we have added an old dog kennel that the 2 releasing wombats can fit into if the burrow floods. there is also a wombat gate rather than opening up a panel, keeps other wombats pigs roo’s and people out so it’s a safer for those releasing. We tied up a bail of hay as emergency feed under the shed and a couple of bails of straw to pull into burrow, or generally snuggle into over winter if things became wet. Nickki and Elvis were the first released and its worked well, although with wet weather the swinging door on the wombat gates jammed due to swelling, so you need to alow enough room for this.

Materials used

- Barrel and automatic feed bowl and connections .

- Old bit of gutter and tin pannel for roofing

- ground mesh 6 x  6m x 1.2m Heavy tent pegs to secure will depend on your soil

- Wombat gate (frame and swinging 3kg wooden door

- Dog house and 2 x sheets of tin and wooden support for starter burrow

- Barrel with lid for wombat nuts and feed bowl (secure barrel to outside of fence and tin attached to stick to put nuts under cover in bowl.

Release pen under construction. Sturdy framing for tin and primary school fencing works well

Water feeder, wombat starter burrow, tin protection from west for rain, dog kennel all working










side view fence has tin to protect shed and stop hay bail getting wet. Blue feed drum on outside to store nuts

Releasing wombats from transport cage thru wombat gate. It’s helpful if they know beforehand how to use a wombat gate. try putting one in your wombatorium for them to use to get to water or feed.

Elvis using gate, wildlife camera photo











using dog kennel as they futher build burrow .


2012-2106 Wombat release pen. We were using this pen about 2km away to release wombats into an area with no roads or housing. The idea is for them to be fed daily, and they dig out, but still have a burrow that’s ‘theirs’ to come back to while they check out the area and find a new home. If they have not dug out in about 10 days the gate is open so they come and go. At this point they are still fed every 2 days, tapering off over the next week or so. We use cameras to see whats happening in the area and at the release pen. If you put the word out and ask at a friendly tip or metal merchant you might pick this up for very little $. The pen only took a few hours to erect by Phil & Lesley Machin (it’s their pen), Warwick & our son Drew, and Yvonne & Michael whose land it’s on.

Here’s what was used:

– 1 Panel of old Primary school fencing so they can see out. DO NOT use pool fencing as wombats can get their heads stuck. Their head is quite narrow when turned sideways, same with wallabies and roos – gaps should be no wider than about 6 cm.

– Lots of old concrete reinforcing to put on the ground around the inside of the pen, 70 cm to 1m wide by whatever length, and  held down by fencing going about 700 to 1m inside pen. Pegging it down helps slow up the diggers.

– 16 star posts

– 15 Colourbond fencing panels. This all fits nicely on a standard trailer, but you can make it bigger!  Lay the panels out with the bottoms where they will stand up, slipping the reo under. This way you do not end up with a gap!

– 2 sheets of tin to cover the burrow.

– A frame to cover entrance to burrow to help stop flooding.

– 3 bales of straw to put under A-frame – if it floods, wombats have somewhere snug to go.

– Water bowl, preferably with a couple of holes in the rim so it can be wired to primary fencing so it won’t get knocked over.

– Food bowls

– Cover for food, not that important, we happened to have something.

– Couple of bits of wood to span starter burrow to support tin.

– Large pegs, to secure A-frame roof from blowing away and reo.

Start by putting in star posts through reo and wire fence panels to posts.

Continue putting in panels, you can see reo in foreground. Pick a high spot and start digging started burrow.



Starter burrow, wombats can renovate it. It will keep them warm or cool.


Wood across burrow to hold tin. The tin should be as wide as your A-frame, cover in dirt, mounding it around edges to try and sop rain run-off entering burrow. Wombats will modify this anyway. Then place 3 bales in a U-shape (1 across back 2 up sides) to go completely under A-frame as a secure place in case of flood.













A-frame covers burrow entrance and tin area. Peg it down so wind or wombats don’t move it. Sides are high enough so wombat can get out under if needed.



Deluxe version with roof for food. Note wildlife camera has caught crows eating food.









Finished release pen, can be any shape you like but recommend no smaller.

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