Gordon Clarke always admired the views and the birdsong when droving sheep between his family properties at Piggoreet West and Linton Park. For many years what is now the Bird Paddock at the Sanctuary was used as a holding paddock to and from the shearing shed at Linton Park. The paddock was never intensively grazed but gold mining left many scars.
In the 1950s, Gordon became aware of a decline in woodland birds in his local patch. He purchased the 31 ha Bird Paddock in 1957, although it was infested with weeds. Realising that removal of the invasive weeds would reduce the protection for the woodland birds, he began planting Australian native species that would offer them food and shelter. The ideology of planting indigenous species would not become fashionable for another 20 or 30 years.
In 1980 Gordon purchased Grantiella, a 13 ha block on the south side of the road opposite the Bird Paddock. This block was first farmed in 1910 and at one stage was an orchard with plums, pears, apples, almonds and cherries. An uninhabitable cottage on the site was used for many years as a meeting place for devoted birdwatchers and volunteers. It now entertains feathered residents such as, Bassian Thrush, White-browed Scrub Wren, Bronze-winged Pigeon, Crimson Rosella and Brown Goshawk.