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Eucalypt forest with ferny understorey. Photo Matt Appleby.
Eucalypt forest with ferny understorey. Photo Matt Appleby.

Burrin Burrin




411 hectares


80km east of Canberra

Traditional Custodians:

Ngambri, Yuin walbunja muncata and Ngarigo people

In the 1970s environmental activist Richard Sylvan came across a bushland property destined to be cleared and decided to buy and protect it. He called it Burrin Burrin – a little piece of quiet and beauty among the farm land that surrounds it.

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 they can be filled with the resonant ‘whoo-hoo’ of a Powerful Owl, or ring with the yap of a Sugar Glider in danger.

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

Greater Gliders end their flights from tree to tree with such slaps that distinctive echoes reverberate through the forest.

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 is protected thanks to our generous supporters.

A Sugar Glider resident at Burrin Burrin. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.

What Burrin Burrin Reserve protects

Animals: Greater Glider (endangered nationally), Gang Gang Cockatoo (endangered nationally), Spotted Quail-thrush, Glossy Black-cockatoo (vulnerable nationally), Flame Robin (vulnerable in NSW).

Plants: Cotoneaster pomaderris (Pomaderris cotoneaster), Hairpin Banksia (Banksia spinulosa), Golden Tip (Goodia lotifolia), Climbing Apple Berry (Billardiera mutabilis), Native raspberry (Rubus parvifolius), Prickly Currant Bush (Coprosma quadrifida), Soft tree-fern (Dicksonia antarctica), Yellow box (Eucalyptus melliodora), Thick-lipped Spider-orchid (Caladenia tessellata).

Vegetation communities: Southern Ribbon Gum forest, Swamp Gum forest, Brown Barrel forest, Silvertop forest, Yellow Box grassy woodland (nationally critically endangered).

What we’re doing

For a long time Burrin Burrin has been in such good natural condition, little management was needed. We found a pine seedling in there once, the odd thistle, and only one rabbit. It’s never been cleared or farmed so the forest was robust enough to resist invasion by exotic species.

Our monitoring found the reserve to be an important refuge for a number of threatened bird species, including Gang-gang and Glossy Black Cockatoos.

Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum). Photo Graeme Chapman.


Burrin Burrin was one of our reserves impacted by bushfires in 2019-20. Before this it wouldn’t have seen a fire for 60 years.

Shortly after the fires, rains fell and we saw green sprouts shooting up through burnt soil, Native Cherry trees that managed to evade the fire, Lyrebirds, a Red-necked Wallaby and fresh wombat scat.

The sounds of birds rang through the air. The bush is still singing; wildlife persists, in spite of everything; supported by locals digging in to help the recovery.

Fingers pointed and cameras whirred on one visit when our team spied a Powerful Owl feasting on a Greater Glider while a Wedge-tailed Eagle flew overhead. The group stood wide-eyed as the spectacle unfolded. It was fantastic to get such a good view of the owl, which is the largest in Australasia and classified as vulnerable in NSW.

The Powerful Owl. Photo Peter Saunders.

Learn more about our Conservation Management Process and how we measure our impact or download a full ecological scorecard for the reserve below.

Species at Burrin Burrin


Stories from Burrin Burrin

Ecological monitoring at Burrin Burrin Reserve, Ngambri, Yuin walbunja muncata and Ngarigo Country, New South Wales. By Tim Clark

BUSHTRACKS 11/01/2024

Burrin Burrin heals

Ecological monitoring at Burrin Burrin Reserve indicates good management and nature’s ability to recover.

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BLOG 11/03/2021

Nest boxes replace lost tree hollows

For the past 10 months I've been leading a project to install a suite of nest boxes at Scottsdale Reserve on Ngunnawal country in southern NSW as part of our ongoing efforts to restore the reserve after bushfire.

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BUSHTRACKS 13/04/2020

The science of recovery

Two months after the North Black Range Fire swept across Bush Heritage’s Burrin Burrin Reserve in NSW, ecologist Dr Matt Appleby assesses the damage and recovery rate.

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BLOG 28/02/2020

Bushfire on-ground assessments

It's been a very busy few weeks here at Bush Heritage. I have been out to our bushfire affected reserves in New South Wales to survey the impact alongside our Senior Leadership team, local reserve staff and ecologists.

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BLOG 31/01/2020

Bushfires update

As we enter a new month, I would like to take a moment to update you on recent developments towards our post-bushfire recovery. The devastation wrought has been confronting. My heart remains with those affected, those still fighting fires and those on the ground beginning the long process of recovery.

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