Port Phillip & Westernport
The Burge Family Reserve sits on the edge of the Strathbogie Ranges at Gobur, just north of Yarck. Although only 38 hectares in size, it supports seven threated species in Box Gum Grassy Woodland habitat. This Nationally threatened plant community is very rare in the Gobur district, with only 2% now remaining.
This property was in the same family since settlement until it was donated to Trust for Nature by the late Mervyn Shaw in 2010. Merv grazed sheep and cattle on the property, but also loved trees and nature.
The reserve lies in the catchment of the Middle Creek, a tributary of the Goulburn River (below Eildon Dam). This reserve now represents an important part of the conservation estate in the district.
Explore Burge Family Reserve
The property currently has areas of open grassland interspersed with woodland dominated by a mix of eucalypt species: Grey Box (Eucalyptus macrocarpa), River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis), Red Stringybark (E. macrorhyncha), White Box (E. albens), Red Box (E. polyanthemos) and Candlebark (E. rubida). The property’s native vegetation survives to this day due to a history of light grazing and the absence of fertilizer application and cultivation.
Vegetation on the reserve is described as Valley Grassy Forest, a vegetation community that is part of the nationally listed Box Gum Grassy Woodland zone of eastern Australia. The site contains several dozen large hollow-bearing trees, many that predate European settlement and a diverse ground flora dominated by Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) and a variety of lillies, orchids and other wildflowers.
The Burge Family Reserve supports notable flora species including Matted Flax-lily (Dianella amoena), Plump Swamp-wallaby Grass (Amphibromus pithogastrus), and Slender Tick-trefoil (Desmodium varians). Notable fauna species include Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar), Brown Toadlet (Pseudophryne bibroni), Brown Tree-creeper (Climacteris picumnus, eastern subsp), and Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata).
The property was largely cleared of its original vegetation in the mid to late 1800s and generally supported low-intensity agricultural production. The lower sections of the property become seasonally waterlogged and evidence of plough furrows, to drain excess water, are still visible. Minor surface gold exploration occurred on the property and is still visible today. Two small dams, previously used for stock water, are now valuable artificial wetlands that support a variety of wetland flora and fauna.
There is a visitor’s car park at the reserve entrance, 2.8 km along the Gobur-Kanumbra Road from the Maroondah Highway, with room for approximately eight cars. Access into the reserve is on foot only and visitors are encouraged to stay on the established trails. Signage at the entrance informs visitors of seasonal restrictions.
A Committee of Management organizes works and activities that improve the health of the reserve and engage with local communities and the conservation-minded public. Interpretive signage and seats along the walking trail are being installed.
The Committee of Management and Trust for Nature acknowledges the Taungurung people as the traditional owners of the land this reserve sits within. Taungurung traditional owners have been involved in the Committee of Management’s cool season burning program that is necessary to maintain landscape health.
A number of pest plants and animals occur on at Burge Family Reserve. The main pest plants in recent years have been Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus sp aggregate), St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum, Horehound, and Toowoomba Canary Grass (Phalaris aquatica). Most of these have been successfully eradicated, except for St. John’s Wort, which requires on-going control. A relatively new invasive plant, South African Weed Orchid (Disa bracteata), has taken hold in the reserve and is now requiring considerable effort and funds to try to control. Until it is controlled, visitors will need to follow strict quarantine protocols if visiting during orchid flowering season (November-January).
The Burge Family Reserve is closed on days of Total Fire Ban, or dangerous fire weather. The reserve may also be closed during periods of very wet weather, when the grasslands become waterlogged and foot traffic can damage native vegetation. The reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including several species of venomous snake. During summer it is advised that long trousers and gaiters are worn when walking in the reserve.
Visitors to the reserve are requested to not cross any fence-lines, or venture onto neighbouring private property. All visitors are requested to stay on the marked walking trails