Liffey Valley

Established:
1991
Area:
287 ha
Location:
55km SW of Launceston
Traditional Owners:
Tasmanian Aboriginal people

Our presence in the Liffey Valley comprises 4 reserves: Liffey River, Coalmine Creek, Dry's Bluff and Oura Oura. In 2013 Liffey River and Coalmine Creek were included in a 170,000 hectare expansion of the 1.4 million hectare Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Drys Bluff towers above the Liffey Valley. Photo Peter Morris.
Drys Bluff towers above the Liffey Valley. Photo Peter Morris.

If you were a Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle riding the air currents high above Liffey Valley Reserves, you'd have a spectacular view of towering mountain plateaus, tumbling rivers and sweeping valley plains.

From the giddy heights of Dry's Bluff, 1200 metres above sea level, you could swoop down over the top of an almost vertical cliff face, plunging 800 metres straight down to the fertile valley floor.

Flying over Pages Creek, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Spotted-tail Quoll, or Platypuses searching for food.

Liffey River Reserve includes an interpretive walk for visitors to complete a self-guided tour of the forest. Photo Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.
Liffey River Reserve includes an interpretive walk for visitors to complete a self-guided tour of the forest. Photo Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.

And crossing the valley floor you would see a rich mosaic of ecosystems, including lush temperate rainforest, with its attendant Gondwanan tree species of Myrtle Beech and Sassafras.

Oh, and if you were a Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle, you'd be very special. There are estimated to be fewer than 250 breeding pairs left in the world, making places like the Liffey Valley extremely important if these eagles are to survive into the future.

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

What the reserves protect

Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle. Photo: Wayne Lawler.
Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle. Photo: Wayne Lawler.

Liffey Valley Reserves provide important foraging habitat for two threatened birds of prey, the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle (nationally endangered) and the White Goshawk (endangered in Tasmania). These significant species and communities are also found:

Animals: Tasmanian Devil (nationally endangered), Spotted-tail Quoll (nationally vulnerable), Southern Brown Bandicoot

Plants: Maidenhair Spleenwort (vulnerable), Prickly Beauty, Rayless Starwort (rare), Silver Banksia, Ground Clematis.

Vegetation communities: White (Manna) Gum wet forest (endangered in Tasmania), Myrtle Beech–Sassafras rainforest, Stringybark dry forest, Stringybark forest with broad-leaf shrubs, Lowland grassy sedgeland.

What we’re doing

Tree fern at Liffey Valley. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
Tree fern at Liffey Valley. Photo Annette Ruzicka.
Weed control occurs regularly. Among the normal suite of invasive weeds found in Tasmania, we're particularly interested in controlling the spread of Foxglove.

This pretty weed – the same as the flower found in cottage gardens across the world – spreads quickly in the open sedgeland along Pages Creek and along tracks. The tall flowering stems produce copious amounts of fine seed that allow it to multiply quickly.

Luckily, Foxglove is easy to hand-weed and even cutting the flowering stem can reduce seed-set if done at the right time.

A star is born

In many ways, the creation of Liffey Valley Reserves in 1991 marks a watershed in the history of the Australian conservation movement.

Senator Bob Brown in the Liffey Valley. Photo Peter Morris.
Senator Bob Brown in the Liffey Valley. Photo Peter Morris.
Bob Brown, then a member of the Tasmanian Parliament, had recently won the Goldman Prize (an international environment award worth around $50 000) when a couple of bush blocks near his Liffey Valley cottage came up for sale.

Bob was keen to save the bush blocks from imminent logging. He eventually decided to put in a bid, and asked a friend to attend the auction.

‘I was sitting in the Tasmanian Parliament and he rang at night to say you've secured the blocks at the reserve price of a quarter of a million dollars,' says Bob.

A sympathetic bank manager and some very generous donors came to the rescue, and Liffey became the first Reserve for a new conservation organisation, the Australian Bush Heritage Fund, now Bush Heritage Australia.

More about Bob Brown and the founding of Bush Heritage >

Cultural values

Oura Oura Reserve, which was gifted by Bob Brown in 2011, played an important role in the history of the Australian conservation movement – over the years the cottage hosted formative meetings of Bush Heritage Australia, The Wilderness Society, the Tasmanian and Australian Greens, and the Franklin River Campaign. Both Oura Oura and Liffey River reserves are open for self-guided visitors to explore.

The Liffey Falls region was a meeting place for three Tasmanian Aboriginal groups: the Big River, North and North Midlands people. The area's sandstone overhangs provided shelter, and stone artefacts still mark old Aboriginal campsites.