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A new acquisition in central Victoria

Glen Norris (Healthy Landscape Manager)
Published 26 Apr 2022 
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Staff explore the woodlands on the John Douglas block. Photo Vibeke Stisen.<br/> Staff explore the woodlands on the John Douglas block. Photo Vibeke Stisen.
Hooded Robin. Photo Jeroen van Veen.<br/> Hooded Robin. Photo Jeroen van Veen.
Yellow-footed Antechinus. Photo Richard Taylor.<br/> Yellow-footed Antechinus. Photo Richard Taylor.
A hollowed out old tree providing fantastic habitat on the John Douglas block. Photo Vibeke Stisen.<br/> A hollowed out old tree providing fantastic habitat on the John Douglas block. Photo Vibeke Stisen.

Our conservation program in the Kara Kara Wedderburn focal landscape in central Victoria has received another boost with the acquisition of a key 185 hectare block that’s perfectly situated to support our strategic connectivity goals in the Dalyenong region.

Victoria’s Box-Ironbark woodlands are ecologically important and contain an immensely rich floral and faunal diversity unmatched by any other woodland type in south east Australia.

Once covering 3 million hectares, 83% of these woodlands have been cleared for agriculture.

This new property, named after the late John Douglas, who was a well-respected local farmer and conservationist, is an incredibly important patch of remnant Box-Ironbark woodland. Eighty percent of this property is intact and has not been cleared for agriculture - it's an example of what's possible when farmers have a vision for shared landscapes.

Areas like this are particularly unique in a fragmented state such as Victoria, and are of exceptional conservation significance. The reserve features important stands of Kara Kara Heathy Woodland and creekline Grassy Woodland, which support large stands of Yellow Box, Grey Box, Yellow Gum, Red Gum, Buloke and Drooping Sheoke.

There is an area within the southern remnant patch of Heathy Woodland, which was known as “the garden” to Mr and Mrs Douglas and has been excluded entirely from stock grazing pressure by the Douglas family for 60 years.

This area has the best vegetation structure I have ever seen in Victorian Box-Ironbark woodlands and is testament to the passion John and his family had for the property.

Like our other reserves in the area, this property will support the woodland bird community by providing important habitat for the Hooded Robin, Brown Treecreeper, Diamond Firetail, Powerful Owl and Swift Parrot; along with terrestrial fauna species such as tree goannas, Brush-tailed Phascogales, and Yellow-footed Antechinus.

Bush Heritage looks forward to walking together with our Djaara partners to Dhelkunya Dja (heal Country), djangi Dja Dja Wurrung balak (home of the Dja Dja Wurrung people).


This acquisition was made possible through the generous support of donors Mark and Jenny Harwood. Additional funds were given in memory of Kaethe Balkau, and by Judy and Graham Hubbard. We also acknowledge many passionate donors whose support enables connectivity through acquisitions in the Kara Kara Wedderburn Focal Landscape including Caroline and Terry Bellair.

Hooded Robin. Photo Jeroen van Veen.<br/> Hooded Robin. Photo Jeroen van Veen.
Yellow-footed Antechinus. Photo Richard Taylor.<br/> Yellow-footed Antechinus. Photo Richard Taylor.
A hollowed out old tree providing fantastic habitat on the John Douglas block. Photo Vibeke Stisen.<br/> A hollowed out old tree providing fantastic habitat on the John Douglas block. Photo Vibeke Stisen.