Burrin Burrin Reserve

A place for gliders and owls
A sugar glider resident at Burrin Burrin. A sugar glider resident at Burrin Burrin. Photo: Wayne Lawler/Ecopix.

Burrin Burrin is mountain country, a place of deep, walled valleys and ferny valley floors.

During daylight hours these valleys echo with the calls of superb lyrebirds, while at night the forests can be filled with the resonant ‘whoo-hoo' of a powerful owl, or ring with the yap of a sugar glider in danger.

Then there's the distinctive sound of greater gliders, which end their flight from tree to tree with such a slap that echoes reverberate through the forest.

Eucalyptus forest with a ferny understory at Burrin Burrin. Eucalyptus forest with a ferny understory at Burrin Burrin. Photo: Wayne Lawler/Ecopix.

Just like their airborne predator the powerful owl, these gliders are highly dependent on old growth forest for survival, and spend much of their time foraging for food in the highest parts of the tree canopy.

They also need the deep tree hollow dens only old growth forests can provide, with a single glider using up to 20 different dens within its home range.

All this has been protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

What this reserve protects

Eastern yellow robin.
Eastern yellow robin. Photo: Owen Whitaker.

Yello box-brittle
Yellow box–brittle gum woodland.

Trigger plant.
Trigger plant. Photo: Wayne Lawler/ Ecopix.

Two patches of yellow box woodland recently discovered at Burrin Burrin are in relatively good condition and provide an important benchmark for local conservationists trying to re-establish this critically endangered ecological community.

The reserve also protects these significant species and communities:


  • Gang gang cockatoo (vulnerable in NSW)
  • Greater glider
  • Spotted quail-thrush
  • Glossy black-cockatoo (vulnerable in NSW)
  • Flame robin (vulnerable in NSW)


  • Mother shield fern
  • Hairpin banksia
  • Climbing apple berry
  • Ant orchid
  • Parramatta green wattle

Vegetation communities

  • Southern ribbon gum forest
  • Swamp gum forest
  • Brown barrel forest
  • Silvertop forest
  • Yellow box-brittle gum grassy woodland (nationally critically endangered)

What we’re doing on the property


Bush Heritage supporters visiting Burrin Burrin Reserve. Bush Heritage supporters visiting Burrin Burrin Reserve. Photo: Belinda Coutts.

Ecologist Sandy Gilmore says Burrin Burrin is one of those rare Bush Heritage properties that are in such good condition that little management is needed.

'We found a pine seedling in there once, the odd thistle, and even one rabbit,' he said.

'But it's never been cleared or farmed and so the forest is in really good condition, making it robust enough to resist invasion by exotic species.'

That's not to say all we have to do is sit back and enjoy the view. Extensive monitoring over three years show us Burrin Burrin has a stable ground cover and broad range of wet and dry forest species.

Such monitoring also shows Burrin Burrin is an important refuge for a number of threatened bird species, including gang gang and glossy black-cockatoos.

Lights, camera, action

The powerful owl spotted at Burrin Burrin Reserve. The powerful owl spotted at Burrin Burrin Reserve. Photo: Jen Grindrod.

Fingers pointed and cameras whirred when recent visitors to Burrin Burrin spied a powerful owl feasting on a greater glider while a wedge-tailed eagle flew overhead.

Reserve manager Peter Saunders said the group stood wide-eyed as the spectacle unfolded in front of them.

'I'd noticed powerful owl scats on a previous visit and so was delighted to get such a good view of the owl, the largest in Australasia and classified as vulnerable in New South Wales,' he said.

Burrin Burrin's mature hollow-bearing trees, along with its native flora and fauna, are now protected and provide habitat for arboreal mammals and a wide range of birds.

Cultural values

In the 1970s environmental activist and thinker Richard Sylvan came across a bushland property destined to be cleared and decided to buy it – to protect it for forever, for the birds and animals that live there. He called it Burrin Burrin, a little piece of quiet and beauty among the busyness of farming land that surrounds it.

We intend to conduct a cultural values assessment on Burrin Burrin, to better understand the indigenous cultural values heritage of the property.

Page Last Updated: Thursday 25 July 2013

Map of Burrin Burrin Reserve
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Quick facts

Established  1999
Area 411 ha
Location 80 km E of Canberra


Where we can, we offer opportunities for you to visit the places you've helped protect. We offer visits when conservation and safety considerations permit.

Unfortunately, this reserve is not open to self guided visits.

For information about visiting other Bush Heritage properties see the visiting our reserves page.


Thank you to all our supporters, whose donations fund the day-to-day costs of managing Burrin Burrin Reserve.

This property came to Bush Heritage via a bequest from Dr Richard Sylvan, an environmentalist and philosopher, who bought the property to conserve its natural values.