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Natural Treasures

in Mitchell Shire

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Natural Treasures in Mitchell Shire lists 36 of the best of the nature reserves, parks and forests in Mitchell Shire which are available to the public.

The landscapes of Mitchell Shire have many Natural Treasures including small but rich patches of wildflowers, tree-lined corridors along roadsides, railways and creeks, larger conservation reserves and state forests, and private bushlands.

This section of the BEAM website allows you to find these Natural Treasures, download guides, and learn more about the natural history that make these Treasures such rich places.

We acknowledge the Taungurung and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People as the Traditional Owners of the land of Mitchell Shire. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and their care of Country over many millenia. We ask that all people respect this ancient heritage and care for the land we now share.

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Setting the Scene

The Natural Treasures in Mitchell Shire have a rich diversity of environments. The higher cooler plateaux have forests of tall trees with herb-rich understorey. The drier hills and ridges have smaller trees and grassy or shrubby understorey, with box-ironbark forests in the north. Lower slopes have grassy box gum woodlands. Heavy wet soils on lava flows, creeklines and flood plains have grassy box/red gum vegetation.


This diversity of environments provides habitat for a wide range of native plants, animals, fungi and bacteria, and all the complex interactions between them. They form a framework of biodiversity that we can use to rebuild healthy ecosystems and landscapes across the Shire.


500 million years ago, rocks, sands and clays spread across the ocean floor. Then the huge plates of land and ocean bed collided, and the sediments were folded and raised to create the land of central Victoria. 360 million years ago, molten rocks intruded deep into these sediments and crystallised as granite. The heat baked the surrounding sedimentary rocks into aureoles of hard rock.


Over hundreds of millions of years, the land was eroded to low plains, exposing the granites.


From about 65 million years ago, Victoria drifted away from Tasmania and Antarctica and mountains rose across southern Victoria. The softer sedimentary rocks eroded to lower hills and sediments were laid down in valleys running north and south from the Great Divide. The harder granites and their surrounding aureoles remained as plateaux, with the Goulburn River cutting through to create the Trawool Valley. Then volcanoes erupted, with cones such as Green Hill and lava flows that spread across the landscape, blocking streams and creating swamps.


Over time, life on land evolved to occupy the many niches created by these geological events. The higher, cooler and wetter plateaux now have forests of tall trees with herb-rich understorey. The lower hills have smaller trees and grassy or shrubby understorey, with box-Ironbark forests in the drier north of the Shire. Lower slopes have grassy box tree woodlands. Flat river terraces and the heavy volcanic soils have grassy box/red gum vegetation.

Aboriginal People lived with the rich diversity of plants and animals on their country for up to 65,000 years. They managed the land in many ways, such as the use of fire to maintain open grassy woodlands filled with wildflowers. Then Europeans arrived and took over management of the land, clearing the forests and woodlands and bringing in many plants and animals from other parts of the world. Population growth and habitat destruction set off a wave of environmental changes and extinctions that continues today.


The reserves, parks and forests that comprise the Natural Treasures are precious places where the ancient natural ecologies are being maintained - and restored - for the public, so that we can experience the diversity of the natural communities that share the Shire with us.


As you travel through the Shire, please care for the places you visit. Consider what more you can do to protect them, such as joining a local environment or Landcare group or participating in Council activities.

Private land also has many natural treasures. If you have natural treasures on your own land, consider protecting the land in perpetuity with a covenant

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Research and writing:  Peter Mitchell, Barbara Moss

Editing:  Barbara Moss, Paul Macgregor


Aerial photos:  Mitchell Shire Council

Mapping:  Peter Mitchell

Photographs:  Peter Mitchell, Paul Macgregor, Laurie Macmillan, Alison Pouliot, Alison Tomkins


Brochure design:  Peter Mitchell, Paul Macgregor

Brochure printing:  Maxam Printers

Reserve Guides design:  Nerida Hippisley (Flying Pig Design)

Web development:  Paul Macgregor

Media promotion:  Georgia Webster

Nature Scavenger Hunt design:  AJ Zara-Girstuns

Homestead Hideaway - Secrets of the Bush:

    Painting:  Robert Hollingworth

    Design:  AJ Zara-Girstuns


Financial support from:

  • Wettenhall Environment Trust

  • Mitchell Shire Council


Information and support from:

  • Taungurung Land and Waters Council Aboriginal Corporation (Forest and Fire Knowledge Circle, Mike Nurse)

  • Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation (Charley Woolmore, Aunty Julieanne Axford, Aunty Gail Smith)

  • Mitchell Shire Council (Elyse Kelly, Viviana Halley, Shirisa Timilsina)

  • Parks Victoria (Jason Scott, Karen Doyle, Sharon Plummer, Cam Davis)

  • Forest Fire Management Victoria: in Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (Michael Rauris, Pat McCarthy)

  • Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (Christine Glassford)

  • Australian Light Horse Memorial Park Committee of Management (Lesley Dalziel, John Thompson)

  • Australian Plants Society Mitchell Group (Norbert Ryan)

  • Biolinks Alliance (Cameron O’Mara)

  • Dabyminga Catchment Collaborative (David Laurie)

  • Friends of Mount Disappointment (Trevor Vienet)

  • Kilmore East Recreation Reserve Committee of Management (Elyse Kelly)

  • Kilmore Historical Society (Barbara Wilson, Liz Dillon-Hensby)

  • Light Rail Research Society of Australia (Colin Harvey)

  • Merri Creek Management Committee (Ann McGregor, Michael Longmore)

  • Neil Phillips (geologist)

  • Nulla Vale Pyalong West Landcare Group (Peter Sanders)

  • Seymour Bushland Park Committee of Management (Lesley Dalziel, Val La May)

  • Seymour Historical Society (John Jennings)

  • South West Goulburn Landcare (Sonia Sharkey)

  • Trust for Nature (Shelagh Curmi, Doug Robinson, Kate Tripodi)

  • Upper Maribyrnong Catchment Group (John Robinson)

  • Wallan Environment Group (Claudia James)

  • Wandong History Group and Wandong Heathcote Junction Community Group (Allen Hall, Karen Christensen)

  • Willowmavin Landcare Group (Tim Budge)

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