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254 ha


165km NW of Melbourne

Traditional Owners:

Dja Dja Wurrung people (Djaara)

Bellair Reserve is part of a network of conservation properties and covenants that are protecting and reconnecting native habitat within the Kara Kara-Wedderburn region of north central Victoria.

At 254 hectares, Bellair Reserve protects large stands of Heathy Woodlands, more than half of which have been cleared in the surrounding area since European settlement. Its woodlands and alluvial flats contain habitat for many threatened species, including Red-cross Spider-orchidsSwift ParrotsLace MonitorsBrush-tailed Phascogales, and declining woodland birds.

A Striated Pardalote. Photo Jeroen van Veen.

The reserve is named after generous donors Caroline and Terry Bellair. After attending a talk about our Victoria Reserves, they made up their minds to donate $1 million to help protect and reconnect native bush in north-central Victoria – a landscape that contains critical habitat for many species that are declining throughout much of south-eastern Australia.

Their original plan had been to bequest surplus savings in their Wills to environmental causes, but as Caroline says:

“We thought we might as well have the fun of spending it while we’re alive.”

Eucalypts. Photo Jeroen van Veen.

What Bellair Reserve protects

Heathy woodlands on these properties are dominated by Red StringybarkLong-leaf BoxGrey BoxRed Box and Yellow Gum. Under these is a diverse range of shrubs including Spreading Wattle, Flame Heath and Twiggy bush-pea. There are also sections of Alluvial Terraces Herb-rich Woodland and Box-Ironbark Forest as well as various rare orchids.

The reserves will be a refuge for declining woodland birds such as the Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata), Black-chinned Honeyeater (Melithreptus gularis) and Brown-headed Honeyeater (Melithreptus brevirostris). The Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus victoriae) has been observed. It's expected to provide habitat for Powerful Owls and Swift Parrots as well as Lace Monitors (endangered in Victoria).

What we’re doing

Thankfully, weeds are largely absent from the reserves and at present the eucalypts show no signs of dieback related to dry, hot conditions, such as that occurring on Nardoo Hills Reserves just 50km to the north.

Bellair and Basso Road are also potentially suitable locations to introduce rare Victorian orchids.

Pink Lady Fingers Orchid. Photo Jeroen van Veen.

Foxes and cats will need to be managed on the reserves but numbers appear low as there are very few rabbits.

As well as controlling these introduced species, the best strategy to maintain the reserve's condition is continued fire suppression. Even when suitable conditions return, fire should only be used on very small patches to start creating a mosaic of fire-ages.

A White-bellied Cuckoo Shrike. Photo Jeroen van Veen.

Species at Bellair


Stories from Bellair Reserve

BUSHTRACKS 18/06/2021

Our future in the field

Hayley Sime began her relationship with Bush Heritage wearing a ‘volunteer’ hat, but these days her hat rack is crowded – it now includes botanist, intern and strategic planner, such is the nature of collaborating with Bush Heritage.

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BLOG 07/05/2019

Million dollar gift sees new reserves

Terry and Caroline's original plan was to bequest their surplus savings to environmental causes, but then they thought: "we might as well have the fun of spending it while we're alive."

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BLOG 11/09/2018

Christening new 'Basso Road' reserve

Exciting news - last week we became the proud owners of an as-yet-unnamed 52 hectare patch of bush in the middle of our Kara Kara-Wedderburn priority landscape in North Central Victoria. The property is near our existing John Colahan Griffin Reserve.

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