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Scottsdale Reserve

Bouncing back
Reflections of Scottsdale ReserveReflections of Scottsdale Reserve. Photo: Stuart Cohen.

Grazed, cleared, cropped and sown aren't the usual qualifications for a Bush Heritage reserve, but in Scottsdale's case we made an exception.

Cultivation, over-grazing, weed invasion and subdivision have all been part of Scottsdale's history at some point, yet with ongoing help from our supporters, this unique property will continue as a home for some of Australia's most threatened temperate ecosystems.

Just 45 minutes south of Canberra, Scottsdale protects endangered grassy box gum woodlands and temperate grasslands. It also harbours many rare birds and a rare reptile.

Wrapped around Scottsdale's northern and western flanks is the Murrumbidgee River, which cascades over natural rock weirs, through deep tree-fringed pools and around river-sculpted rocks.

Scottsdale is also an important part of the Kosciuszko 2 Coast project – a community partnership established to help landowners create connections between remnant woodlands and grasslands in the region between Kosciuszko and Namadgi national parks and the forests of NSW's far south coast.

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

What this reserve protects

Sliver-leafed mountain gumSilver-leafed mountain gum. Photo: Matt Appleby.

Peregrine falcon.Peregrine falcon. Photo: Wayne Lawler/Ecopix.

Rosenberg's monitorRosenberg's monitor. Photo: Chinch Gryniewicz.

If you know where to look, Scottsdale is home to a remnant of Australia's last ice age, the silver-leafed mountain gum.

Adapted to a time when this part of the world was much drier and colder, just ten populations of this little mallee tree are thought to exist in Australia, and it has been listed as vulnerable to extinction.

The reserve also protects these significant species and communities:


  • Rosenberg's monitor (vulnerable in NSW)
  • Speckled warbler (vulnerable in NSW)
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Brown treecreeper (vulnerable in NSW)


  • Currawang (spearwood)
  • Drooping sheoak
  • Button wrinklewort
  • Silky swainson-pea

Vegetation communities

  • Yellow-box grassy woodland (nationally critically endangered)
  • Riparian shrubby woodland
  • Currawang-scribbly gum-black cypress-pine forest
  • Tablelands frost hollow grassy woodlands
  • Southern tablelands natural temperate grassland (nationally endangered)

What we’re doing on the property

Seedlins ready for revegetation efforts on Scottsdale.Seedlings ready for revegetation efforts on Scottsdale. Photo: Stuart Cohen.

Restoring an entire ecosystem is a tricky business, but at Scottsdale we hope to do just that by helping natural regeneration along, and by replanting precious yellow box woodland. Key to our efforts is Bush Heritage ecologist Sandy Gilmore.

‘There are some large areas at Scottsdale with fairly fertile soil, where we hope to regenerate woodlands substantially cleared elsewhere,' says Sandy.

Weed and pest control are also top priorities for Scottsdale. We are lucky to have volunteers helping us map and close rabbit warrens on the property, and although numbers are reducing, rabbits will always be a threat.

In terms of weeds, African lovegrass is a major headache. Cropping areas on the valley floor have become infested with it, but we are trying out a few different techniques to disadvantage this weed while permitting native grasses to grow.

Volunteers – the spirit of Scottsdale

Volunteers gather native seed for revegetation efforts at Scottsdale Reserve.Volunteers gather native seed for revegetation efforts at Scottsdale Reserve. Photo: Graham Fifield.

It would be no understatement to say that volunteers have made Scottsdale the place it is today.

In one year alone they clocked up more than 300 working days helping with revegetation, tackling weeds and feral animals, carrying out survey work, looking after infrastructure, mapping and closing rabbit warrens, and more.

The majority are locals who care deeply about their patch of bush, but they also come from further afield.

'We had one volunteer from Melbourne who spent a week of their holidays spraying weeds,' says Regional Reserve Manager Peter Saunders.

'One local lady regularly comes in to plant a bunch of seedlings she's grown herself from local seed, and other volunteers offer invaluable help keeping Scottsdale's buildings in good repair.'

Cultural values

The Murrumbidgee River at Scottsdale Reserve - a favourite haunt of platypus, the Ngunawal clan totem.The Murrumbidgee River at Scottsdale Reserve - a favourite haunt of platypus, the Ngunawal clan totem. Photo: Nicole Pyne.

Scottsdale is within the traditional lands of the Ngunawal people and is very close to Lake George, where the Ngunawal creator being (Budjabulya) is thought to reside. It is also part of a trade route with the neighbouring Yuin people, and home to the Ngunawal clan totem, the platypus (mulagun).

In 2009 and 2010 Bush Heritage worked with the Ngunawal to carry out cultural heritage surveys, unearthing artefacts, including stone axes and tool-making materials. This important work will help Bush Heritage protect and preserve the cultural heritage of the Ngunawal at Scottsdale.

A gravesite and the ruins of a couple of small cottages are reminders of Scottsdale's more recent past, when it was used mainly for agriculture.

Page Last Updated: Friday 29 April 2011

Map of Scottsdale Reserve
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Quick facts

Established  2006
Area 1328 ha
Location 75 km S of Canberra

Reserve scorecard


The reserve scorecard is a summary of the reserve's condition based on an ecological review conducted every 5 years.


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 Scottsdale Reserve.

Generous support for the acquisition of this property was provided by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, David Rickards in memory of Helen Rickards, and the Australian Government under the Natural Heritage Trust's National Reserve System Programme.