John Griffin wanted to leave a legacy for future generations. The John Colahan Griffin Nature Reserve is that special gift – an ancient woodland haven for bushland birds that are declining across Victoria. A home for endangered reptiles and mammals. A place where rare and beautiful plants such as the Stuart Mill Spider Orchid can thrive.
Most of the ancient woodlands of central Victoria were cleared during the early days of settlement. Remarkably few places retain their original trees. Much of the box and iron-bark dominated woodlands and forests that remain are regrowth.
This is why the John Colahan Griffin Nature Reserve is so unique and important. It's never been cleared and retains exceptional stands of very old trees, including Long-leaved Box and Yellow Gum. Some of these are truly gigantic and may be over 300 years old.
Large trees with hollows provide important nesting sites for birds such as parrots and owls, and for mammals such as Brush-tailed Phascogales. The endangered Swift Parrot frequents this region and relies on the prolific nectar production of large trees.
The reserve sits strategically between St Arnaud National Park and the Dalyenong Nature Conservation Reserve. Along with neighbouring properties, many of which also have large, old trees, it plays an important role in allowing wildlife such as Lace Monitors, small mammals and woodland birds to move through the landscape.
In 2018 we also added the 51 hectare 'Basso Road Reserve' to our Kara Kara-Wedderburn priority landscape in North Central Victoria, nearby the 96 hectare JC Griffin Reserve.
In the video below Regional Reserve Manager Jeroen van Veen explains the importance of the area for flora and fauna in central Victoria.
What this reserve protects
The old-growth woodlands are high-quality habitat for a range of threatened species that need large trees with hollows or fallen timber for their homes. The reserve protects:
Swift Parrot (nationally endangered), Lace Monitor (endangered in Victoria), Crested Shrike-tit, Diamond Firetail (threatened in Victoria), Hooded Robin (threatened in Victoria), Black-chinned Honeyeater.
Yellow Box, Red-cross Spider-orchid (endangered in Victoria), Stuart Mill Spider-orchid (endangered in Victoria), Southern Swainson Pea, Old growth Long-leaved Box, Old growth Yellow Gum, Grass Trees.
Grassy woodland (vulnerable), Heathy dry forest, Box and Ironbark forest, Alluvial terraces herb rich woodland.
What we’re doing
The bushland of the JC Griffin Reserve is in exceptionally good condition. Rabbits and invasion by pastoral weeds are threats that we must manage to ensure its conservation values are protected.
The reserve is one piece in a wider landscape mosaic that's owned and managed by many different groups and individuals. As a member of the Kara Kara Conservation Management Network, we're working with neighbours, other non-government organisations and government departments to ensure our conservation efforts are successful both on the reserve and in the wider landscape.
Orchids in need
Rare orchid species are found on the reserve and on nearby Nardoo Hills. Many of these, such as the Red-cross Spider Orchid and Stuart Mill Spider Orchid, occur in low numbers in isolated populations.
We're working with the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment to develop and implemented management plans tailored to the needs of each species and population.