Bemboka River Reserve

Lowland Grassy Woodland and Bemboka Reserve

The Story

Location of Object:

(Parish/County/LGA; Geographical co-ordinates)

The Reserve is located in the Parish of Ooranook, County of Auckland, Bega Valley Shire, about 1 km south-east of the centre of Bemboka village.

Accessibility of Object:

The Reserve can be reached from Colombo Park (sports oval) on the Snowy Mountains Highway on the eastern edge of Bemboka, via a gate and steps near the public toilets and picnic area. Colombo Park also provides facilities for informal camping. There is a footbridge across Colombo Creek. At times of high flow in the creek access is via a gate in the north-east corner of Bemboka cemetery. Use of vehicles in the reserve is discouraged and there is no disabled persons access. There are mown paths from the two access points providing for a walk of around 2 km around the perimeter and a shorter walk across the highest point of the reserve to the “Platypus Gate” on the Bemboka River. There is access to the river bank via this and another gate in the north-west corner near Colombo Creek confluence, but there are no paths on the river bank.

Evolutionary History of Object:

Monroe (2015) describes how the area now occupied by temperate woodlands was previously occupied by rainforest, when Australia was still part of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. At the time, the climate was not strongly seasonal, being warm and wet the year round. Temperate rainforest covered much of south-eastern Australia, consisting to a large extent of southern beech (Nothofagus) similar to cool temperate rainforest presently found in southern Victoria and parts of Tasmania.

Evidence provided by fossil pollen suggests that the early eucalypts were already present and widespread in the Gondwana rainforest as far back as 60 million years ago (Ma). As the climate became drier between about 30 and 15 Ma the rainforests retreated, eventually being confined to the wetter coastal strip, leaving much of their former territory to the hardier eucalypts that had been pre-adapted for just such an event, resulting in the widespread eucalypt and Acacia forests and woodlands.

It is believed that many of the plants and animals in woodlands had begun to evolve in the Mid to Late Miocene (13.8 – 5.3 Ma). The spread of open forests and woodlands opened up new niches that would have increased the diversification of plants and animals that lived in and on them. It has been suggested that the greater separation of trees encouraged the evolution of the gliding possums.

A side effect of a drying climate was the increased incidence of fire. As the climate became hotter and drier the eucalypts and wattles took advantage of their adaptations that allowed them to survive the increased incidence of fire, using it to their advantage to reduce the competition of other species that were less fire tolerant. The combination of a climate that was becoming increasingly dry over the last 100,000 years and the active management of the vegetation by Aboriginal People, largely using fire, accelerated the spread of open types of vegetation.


Woodlands are a category of vegetation differing from forests and rainforests by the height, spacing and crown cover of the component trees. They are broadly described as ecosystems that contain widely spaced trees with their crowns not touching. Trees in woodlands are sometimes less than 10 m tall, depending on environmental conditions such as rainfall, and the trunk is never longer then half the height of the crown.

Grassy Woodlands are a sub-formation characterised by a well-developed herbaceous layer in which grasses dominate. There are usually few or no shrubs though they may be present if the area is subjected to frequent fires. This type of vegetation community has been extensively grazed by sheep and cattle in the southern half of Australia. Introduced grasses, herbs and weeds from southern Europe or South Africa have replaced many of the native grasses and herbs.

The remnant Grassy Woodland present within the Bemboka Reserve is representative of an important aspect of the natural heritage of Bega Valley Shire. Natural heritage means natural features consisting of physical and biological formations (or groups of such formations) which demonstrate natural significanceand, in particular relation to the Bemboka Reserve, natural sites or precisely-delineated natural areas which demonstrate natural significance from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty.

Natural significance means the importance of ecosystems, biodiversity and geodiversity for their existence value or for present or future generations, in terms of their scientific, social, aesthetic and life-support value.

Natural heritage is understood to incorporate a range of values, from pure existence value (which means that living organisms, earth processes and ecosystems may have value beyond the social, economic or cultural values held by humans) to social and cultural values. These values may be related and are sometimes difficult to separate. Some people, including many Indigenous people, do not see them as being separate.

Assessments of the significance of natural heritage objects or ecological communities should therefore attempt to identify and take into consideration all aspects of natural and cultural heritage, including the role of that indigenous people have played in shaping the landscape and the known uses to which the object being studied was put.

Detailed description:

Coastal Valley Grassy Woodlands, (Keith 2004) are a vegetation type which occurs in scattered locations along the eastern coast from Queensland to the Bairnsdale area in Victoria. They occur in rainshadowvalleys which are isolated one from the other among surrounding hills, generally at elevations of 350 metres or less above sea level. They are generally found on relatively fertile soils derived from various igneous rocks including, broadly, granites and basalts or on clay soils derived from siltstone. These two factors, lower rainfall and higher fertility soils, distinguish them from their surroundings and produce a distinct vegetation type, characterised historically by widely spaced trees, a low diversity and cover of shrubs, and a diverse groundcover of grasses and herbs. Other examples in NSW are found in the Hunter Valley and the Cumberland Plain woodlands in western Sydney. Lowland Grassy Woodland is the formal name of the community as it occurs on the far south coast, in scattered patches between Moruya and Towamba, of which the Bega Valley is the largest.

The signature tree of Lowland Grassy Woodland is Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), often in combination with Rough-barked Apple (Angophora floribunda), White Stringybark (E. globoidea) and Coast Grey Box (E. bosistoana). The latter three species are also found in other forest types, but the Forest Red Gum is almost unique to coastal valley woodlands. In parts of the region which experience the most extreme rainshadow effect and possibly also more extreme temperatures, such as around Rocky Hall, Candelo, Bemboka and Yowrie, a couple of tablelands eucalypts Yellow Box (E. melliodora) and Snow Gum (E. pauciflora) also occur. Yellow Box may be locally dominant in some areas, including on the Bemboka River Reserve. This odd distribution of eucalypts also includes an occurrence of Broad-leaved Peppermint (E. dives), another typical tablelands species, between Frogs Hollow and Springvale south and west of Bega. The presence of these tree species, and considerable overlap between the groundcover species of Lowland Grassy Woodland and the woodlands and grasslands of the tablelands and western slopes, suggests that this ecological assemblage is a relict of the last Ice Age, which ended about 12,000 years ago. During this Ice Age sea levels were about 50 metres lower than they are now so the current rainshadow valleys would have been much further inland. As conditions were also colder and drier, there may have been fewer barriers in terms of different forest types occurring between the coastal valleys and the nearby tablelands. Forest types requiring wetter and warmer conditions would have contracted to small refugia and grassy woodlands may have been more widespread than they are now, so that those on the current coastal strip may have been more directly connected with those on the tablelands. Once conditions became warmer and wetter again other forest types could expand and grassy woodlands contracted to their current areas of distribution.

In addition to the unusual occurrence of Yellow Box, Snow Gum and Broad-leaved Peppermint in the coastal valleys, close links between tablelands grasslands and coastal grassy woodlands are suggested by the presence of numerous native herbs common on the tablelands and found in Lowland Grassy Woodland but no other vegetation types on the far south coast. Examples occurring in Bemboka River Reserve or the adjacent cemetery and Colombo Park edges are daisies Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum), Tall Everlasting (Chrysocephalum semipapposum), Yellow Burr-daisy (Calotis lappulacea) Scaly Buttons (Leptorhynchos squamatus) and two fuzzweeds, Vittadinia muelleri and V. gracilis, the peas Lespedeza juncea and Zornia dyctiocarpa, Curved Rice-flower (Pimelea curviflora var. sericea) and Spur Velleia(Velleia paradoxa). The grass Native Sorghum (Sorghum leiocladum) is also restricted to Lowland Grassy Woodland on the far south coast and present on the tablelands in better quality remnant grasslands and grassy woodlands.

Social History of Object:

The far south coast was settled by Europeans after about the 1850s. The coastal valley woodlands would have been quickly recognised as being valuable for agriculture, and developed for farming, starting with the fertile river flats such as those around Bega, and expanding into the undulating drier country to the west. Prior to European settlement of course the district would have been fully utilised by Aboriginal people, and the more productive soils of the river valleys would have provided a wide variety of food and other resources. It is very likely that Aboriginal manipulation of their environment, principally by the use of fire, helped to shape the grassy woodlands that we see today, for example by keeping tree and shrub regrowth in check and providing the sort of open sunny conditions required by many of the characteristic herbs and grasses of the understorey.

There is some evidence of past use of the Bemboka River Reserve by Aborigines, in the form of axe grinding grooves in the granite rocks exposed in the river bed, and a scar on a large old Rough-barked Apple tree which may have been a territorial marker, or a migration route marker.

The impact of European settlement varied in degree within the Bega Valley, depending largely on the soil fertility and topographic constraints. Flatter, more fertile areas have generally lost all or most of their native vegetation, being cleared and converted to exotic pasture or used for cropping. The steeper and less productive areas tended to be used for rough grazing, for example to run dry cows on the dairy farms, andwere often maintained as native pasture. Some such areas in more remote locations such as Rocky Hall still include some native vegetation in good condition on private property. Areas close to towns, in addition to conversion to exotic pasture, have also suffered invasion by garden escapee plants such as Privet, Cotoneaster and Hawthorn.

Overlaid on this pattern of usage is the creation of small parcels of public land, as Travelling Stock Reserves, town commons, recreation reserves and Crown Leasehold lands. At least some of these would have had a history of less frequent grazing than occurred on private property, and presumably also less clearing of trees, though some may have been used to provide firewood for nearby towns. Travelling Stock Reserves west of the Great Divide are often in considerably better condition than privately owned grazing land because of their lower intensity grazing history, but this is less true of the Bega Valley. However, we can infer that the Bemboka River Reserve had such a history of less frequent grazing because of its status as Crown Leasehold Land, and the presence of a range of native grasses and herbs that are rarely found in privately owned grazing land in the region.

The Bemboka River Reserve was Crown Leasehold up until about 2004, when its conservation significance was first recognised by local botanist Jackie Miles, in the course of a survey of public lands in the farming areas. This survey came about in the wake of the Comprehensive Regional Assessment (CRA), a survey of vegetation types and fauna undertaken in the late 1990s to inform the Regional Forest Agreement for the Eden Region, signed in 1999. One of the findings of the CRA was that the most heavily cleared and modified vegetation types in the region were those associated with the farming areas. Prior to this the farming areas had not been recognised as carrying significant native vegetation, and most of the focus of the conservation lobby had been on the public forests.

Recognition of the depleted and degraded state of the grassy woodlands led to a move to have them listed as an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC), an entity which had only just become available for listing, in addition to threatened species and populations, under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 in NSW. The first determination to list an EEC was made in 1997, with most of the early listings concentrated around Sydney, where vegetation, including Coastal Valley Grassy Woodlands such as Cumberland Plain Woodland, was under most pressure for development. The listing process has snowballed since then, with over 100 communities now listed in NSW, and many also listed nationally under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. After the CRA a publication listing all the vegetation types of the Eden Region (Keith and Bedward, 1999) described the grassy woodland as two separate entities, Candelo Dry Grass Forest and Bega Dry Grass Forest. Four local EECs were listed in 2000, Bega and Candelo Dry Grass Forests, Brogo Wet Vine Forest and Dry Rainforest of the South East Forests, all largely restricted to areas cleared for farming. In 2011 the listings of Bega and Candelo Dry Grass Forests were rolled into a single listing of Lowland Grassy Woodland, after it was realised that the two communities were very similar and that some of the differences between them probably related more to past management than to any natural differences in species composition. Also in 2011 a number of communities found on coastal floodplains were listed including River-flat Eucalypt Forest and Freshwater Wetlands, bringing almost complete coverage by EEC listing to the vegetation communities of the farming areas in Bega Valley Shire.

Meanwhile the Federal Government had been looking into listing the same EECs under their EPBC Act. Lowland Grassy Woodland achieved Federal listing, as a Critically Endangered Ecological Community, in 2013. The reason for the higher level of threat in the Federal listing is that the Federal Government places more stringent quality requirements on remnants of Lowland Grassy Woodland to meet their definition of the EEC. Remnants must be of a certain minimum size and have a certain number of species from a diagnostic species list present in the understorey, so only the best quality remnants are covered by their listing. Such remnants are much rarer than the more degraded ones which are included under the State listing, and consequently they are regarded as being Critically Endangered. The Bemboka River Reserve being 18 hectares, with quite a diverse array of both trees and understorey, would qualify as the EEC at both State and Federal level.

Both the State and Federal listings allow for a range of vegetation structure to be covered by their listings. Where trees have been cleared but the groundcover is still largely native (and under the EPBC Act with a high degree of native species diversity) the vegetation is referred to as a derived or secondary grassland. Depending on tree density it may also be a woodland (non-overlapping tree crowns) or a forest (trees with overlapping crowns). Part of the reason that the community was originally described as Bega or Candelo Dry Grass Forest may be that the surveys which gave rise to the formal description of the communities were conducted on properties which had been retired from farming as part of the settling of more marginal rural land in the region by “tree changers” which began in the late 1970s. Consequently these properties had experienced a lot of tree and shrub regeneration.

Once the conservation value of the Bemboka River Reserve was recognised moves were made to change its status from Crown Leasehold to a Council reserve. This was undertaken by Noel Whittem, then an employee of the Lands Department, and a resident of the Bemboka area. The reserve came over to the management of Bega Valley Shire Council in about 2007, and the fencing was upgraded to exclude straying stock, and some weed control was undertaken. It is a valuable resource, in providing a window into the past for the Bega Valley’s grassy woodlands, and a means of retaining at least one example of the vegetation community in good condition, in the face of ongoing declines in remnant vegetation condition almost everywhere else in the Valley.

The presence of the old highway route between the Reserve and the cemetery is also of historical interest. It is unsealed and only a single lane wide, running between cuttings for some of its length. It is a rare intact example of the quality of the roads in the early days of settlement of the region, since most such old roads have been subsequently upgraded to more modern standards. Another significant feature of the old highway is the very large size of some of the trees along it. They obviously predate European settlement, and are considerably larger than any of those in the Reserve, suggesting that despite its Crown Leasehold status, it had been used for timber harvesting at some time.

In 2012 the Bemboka Landcare group began to take an interest in the reserve, and commissioned a management plan from Jackie Miles (Miles, 2012). This they have been following since then, with the principal activities being improving the access with steps and a foot bridge and mown paths with marker posts, installing interpretive signage and tree name markers, weed control and some planting of trees and shrubs along the bare eastern bank and bed of Colombo Creek. Various grants have been obtained over the years to support these activities.

A foot bridge across Colombo Creek was required because the old highway bridge which formerly provided one way of getting across the creek dry-shod was washed out in the flood of 2011. This large old timber bridge had fallen into disrepair, but was still usable by nimble pedestrians, though not really suitable as a means of providing public access. After the March 2011 flood subsided it was found to have almost completely disappeared except for one or two large square sections of timber lying in the creek bed. Following the installation of the foot bridge, a dirt path to a seat and interpretive signage on the far bank of the creek, a set of steps has also been constructed by local resident Jock Waugh, since the path up a slope to the signage was beginning to show signs of wear.

Another important activity in the Reserve is burning the long grass every few years. Now that the reserve is no longer grazed the native grasses can become very dense, difficult to move through and hard to locate weeds in for spraying of infestations. Three burns have been achieved to date, undertaken by the Bemboka Rural Fire Service (RFS). The first was planned for 2012, but due to the complexity of the approvals process, it was not achieved. The first burn was conducted in 2013, with the grasslands in the western half of the reserve being burnt. The management plan recommended burning some part of the reserve every year or two, but given the difficulties of coordinating suitable weather and fuel conditions with RFS availability, the second burn did not happen till 2016, when the eastern half was burnt. The western half was burnt for the second time in 2017, and on this occasion strong winds the following day reignited the fire and as well as the open grasslands, the woodlands in the western half were also burnt, with some crown scorch occurring in the trees. This is not optimal, but an occasional higher intensity fire is not disastrous, and the vegetation has recovered well.

The Landcare Group hope that it will continue to be possible to burn every few years. There are several reasons for doing this. Firstly, it probably mimics the management techniques of the Aboriginal custodians of the valley, and is therefore the type of management with which the grassy woodlands have evolved for many thousands of years. Presumably therefore, it is a good management regime for maintaining the vegetation in something like its pre-European condition. One of the principal effects is to kill young tree and shrub regrowth, to maintain the open grassy state of the woodland. Because the Reserve did not get this type of management in the past, there have been several flushes of tree regeneration around the older eucalypts and rough-barked apples. These have turned into dense copses of young trees which have a less diverse species composition that the adjacent open grasslands, due to the shading effect and competition for soil moisture from the trees. Understorey plants, Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii) and shrubs such as Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa) are now also expanding within the reserve. While the presence of a shrub and small tree layer may make the area more attractive to some species of wildlife, if it becomes too dense it can be detrimental to the grassy groundcover. As the shrub layer in this community tends to consist of only one or two species, while the groundcover ideally is very diverse, the development of a dense shrub layer is not desirable from the perspective of maintaining the maximum species diversity, andreflecting the pre-European state of the vegetation.

Burning off the long grass also greatly improves the access for weed control and makes the weeds easier to detect and treat. The Reserve does have a legacy of weed invasions, including some of the species which are regarded as a high priority for control in the region (the species formerly listed as noxious). African Lovegrass and St John’s Wort are the two highest priority weed infestations, which have been the subject of control efforts by the Landcare Group with professional assistance from bush regeneration workers. The abundance of both these weeds, as well as Blackberry and various woody garden escapee weeds such as Privet and Japanese Honeysuckle along the Bemboka River has been substantially reduced.

Burning the grassland also helps to maintain its species diversity. The dominant grass in the Reserve, Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra), is well adapted to fire and recovers rapidly from it. In the absence of fire or grazing (or mowing) it tends to become very thick, lose vigour, stop flowering and producing seed, and eventually is replaced by other grasses which are better adapted to growing without fire. In the current situation, with a seed source of exotic pasture species never very far away, many of these are likely to be exotic species. In the period before the Kangaroo Grass dies off, it is likely to have smothered out many of the native herbs with its dense thatch of dead foliage. “Lock it up and leave it” has not proven to be a good management recipe for grasslands and grassy woodlands, which evolved under Aboriginal management and require some active management if we want them to stay in good condition. This was discovered when grasslands on the basalt plains around Melbourne came under the management of conservation organisations, and with the withdrawal of active management declined in condition quite rapidly. The same effect can be seen locally in several of the grassy headlands in Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shires, which without management are rapidly reverting to forest or scrub.

The replacement of tree cover on a part of the Reserve where the native grasses have been largely replaced by exotics, on the flats adjacent to Colombo Creek, has been another activity of the Landcare Group, undertaken from about 2012 to 2015. There have also been plantings of riparian shrubs into the bed of Colombo Creek and the banks of the Bemboka River. Colombo Creek had been largely denuded of riparian vegetation and the Bemboka River has patchy coverage of riparian shrubs such as teatrees(Leptospermum species) and bottlebrushes (Callistemon subulatus). Riparian shrubs can be important factors in protecting streambanks from erosion during flood events. Bemboka Landcare members with an interest in propagation and stocks of plants grown for Landcare plantings locally were the source of appropriate local native species for these plantings. One previous planting was undertaken prior to Landcare Group involvement by Bemboka Primary School children with the assistance of Jock Waugh in 2008. The original size of the planting is unknown, but in 2012 there were 20 trees (of 7 species), 24 shrubs (of 8 species) and 26 Spiny headed Matt Rush (lomandra longifolia) surviving. Subsequent plantings have extended the area of bank planted to about 100 metres long.

The Landcare Group holds working bees on the first Monday of each month where activities such as planting, weed control and maintenance are done.

Physical Condition:

The Reserve is in considerably better than average condition for Lowland Grassy Woodland, but has a number of issues including weeds (invasion being facilitated by past vehicle access to the site) and over-abundant tree and shrub regeneration in some areas.

Other geographically associated places / sites:

There are other areas of public land within the Bega Valley which also provide access to Lowland Grassy Woodland remnants, though none are as large or in as good condition as the Bemboka River Reserve. Some rural cemeteries provide good examples of grassy remnant vegetation, with the best examples being Bemboka, Wyndham, Towamba and Rocky Hall. A few Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR) and recreation reserves also carry such remnants, including the Rocky Hall recreation reserve (on the river bank opposite the cemetery), the Tantawangalo Speedway reserve and associated TSR on Tarlintons Lane and TSR number 28 at Morans Crossing (south-west of the Bemboka River bridge on the Snowy Mountains Highway). However, many such remnants are deteriorating rapidly due to ineffective weed management.

Significance of this Object:

The Lowland Grassy Woodland Endangered Ecological Community at Bemboka River Reserve is an important, rare and impressive part of the natural and cultural heritage of Bega Valley Shire.

The plant assemblage present at the reserve is representative of the vegetation community which would have occupied large parts of the Bega Valley prior to European settlement but which has been largely eliminated or severely degraded by the conversion of its traditional resource functions for Indigenous people to those introduced by settler society for the purposes of intensive pastoralism and farming.

As such, the Bemboka River Reserve is a valuable natural and cultural heritage resource through providing outstanding tangible evidence of a cultural landscape that served the needs of both Indigenous and early Settler societies, for offering a window into the past that leads to an understanding of the Bega Valley’s grassy woodlands and, in the face of ongoing declines in remnant vegetation condition almost everywhere else in the Valley, for providing a means of retaining at least one example of the vegetation community that is still in good condition and retains much of its natural integrity.

The Reserve and its existing plant community provide important scientific research potential and are significant for their ability to extend knowledge of the shire’s natural heritage through fostering anunderstanding of dynamic ecological processes, earth processes and evolutionary processes, and the ability of ecosystems to be self- perpetuating.

The place is therefore important for its ongoing educational potential for current and future generations.

This is demonstrated in the relationships and associations that have resulted from the Bemboka Landcare Group’s commitment to instituting the required conservation processes under guidance provided by prominent local botanist Jackie Miles, in the provision of interpretive signage, along with the educational opportunities made available to the children of Bemboka Primary School and to other social groups and individual visitors to the place. These initiatives also contribute to its growing social significance and appreciation as a place that demonstrates citizen-initiated conservation activities supported by the local council, andenabled by state and federal government listings of the Lowland Grassy Woodland as an Endangered Ecological Community. Formerly Crown Leasehold land, the Reserve is now managed by Bega Valley Shire Council, with most of the active management being done by the Landcare Group.

The reserve is adjacent to a roughly 400 metre long section of old highway (located between the reserve and the cemetery, and managed as part of the reserve). The presence of the old highway route between the Reserve and the cemetery is also of historical significance. The old roadway is unsealed and only a single lane wide, running between cuttings for some of its length. It is a rare intact example of the quality of the roads in the early days of settlement of the region since most such old roads have been subsequently upgraded to more modern standards. Another significant feature of the old highway is the very large size of some of the trees along it. They obviously predate European settlement, and are considerably larger than any of those in the Reserve, suggesting that despite its Crown Leasehold status, it had been used for timber harvesting at some time.

The natural integrity of the site, along with the diversity of plant forms found there, contribute to its high aesthetic value and the esteem with which the place is held by members of the Bembokacommunity.

In addition, the site has the capacity to link with and support the interpretation of themes and storylines such as tracing the emergence of Australian plants and animals, living as Australia’s earliest inhabitants,

settling, developing and building the region; the early and ongoing importance of agriculture, farming and dairying locally; understanding cultural landscapes and land use patterns; developing rural and regional industries; conserving fragile environments; educating people and conducting scientific research.

Context: Relationship to National, State and Local historical themes

Main theme:




Environment – Naturally evolved


The Natural Heritage of Bega Valley Shire

Other themes:







Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures


Environment – cultural landscape




Education (Bemboka Landcare Group and Bemboka Primary School children)

Social institutions

- Bemboka Landcare Group

- Bemboka Primary School

- Far South Coast Birdwatchers Group


Aboriginal People’s Cultural Heritage and Connections to Bega Valley Shire

Working the land in Bega Valley Shire

Cultural landscapes within Bega Valley Shire

Pastoralism in Bega Valley Shire

Science and scientificeducation and research in Bega Valley Shire

Challenging terrains: Getting about in Bega Valley Shire

Education and learning institutions within Bega Valley Shire

Sociality in Bega Valley Shire

Thematic storylines:

Tracing climatic and topographical change

Tracing the emergence of Australian plants and animals

Assessing scientifically diverse environments

Appreciating the natural wonders of Australia

Living as Australia’s earliest inhabitants

Adapting to diverse environments

Feeding people

Using indigenous foodstuffs

Developing sources of fresh local produce

Adapting to diverse environments

Farming for commercial profit

Grazing stock

Breeding animals

Developing agricultural industries

Altering the environment

Reclaiming land

Clearing vegetation

Dealing with hazards and disasters

Developing economic links outside Australia

Moving goods and people on land

Building and maintaining roads

Forming associations (Landcare)

Forming associations (Landcare) for self-education

Conserving Australian resources

Conserving fragile environments

Conserving economically valuable resources

Conserving Australia’s heritage

Educating people

Establishing regional and local identity

Enjoying the natural environment

Pursuing common leisure interests

Activities associated with systematic observations, experiments and processes for the explanation of observable phenomena

Other geographically associated places / sites:

There are other areas of public land within the Bega Valley which also provide access to Lowland Grassy Woodland remnants, though none are as large or in as good condition as the Bemboka River Reserve. Some rural cemeteries provide good examples of grassy remnant vegetation, with the best examples being Bemboka, Wyndham, Towamba and Rocky Hall. A few Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR) and recreation reserves also carry such remnants, including the Rocky Hall recreation reserve (on the river bank opposite the cemetery), the Tantawangalo Speedway reserve and associated TSR on Tarlintons Lane and TSR number 28 at Morans Crossing (south-west of the Bemboka River bridge on the Snowy Mountains Highway). However, many such remnants are deteriorating rapidly due to ineffective weed management.

Heritage listings (statutory and non-statutory): None

Further information:

Contributors to this ‘library’:

Jackie Miles, consultant botanist

Members of the Bemboka Landcare Group

Trevor King, BVSC Heritage Advisor

Acknowledgements, Rights and Permissions:

Primary text: © Jackie Miles. All rights reserved.

Secondary text: Evolutionary history, Significance and Thematic Context. © Trevor King. All rights reserved.

Photographs: © Jackie Miles and Max Campbell. All rights reserved.

References and bibliography:

Australian Natural Heritage Charter for the conservation of places of natural heritage significance. Australian Heritage Commission(2002)

Bemboka Landcare pamphlet.

Keith, David (2004): Ocean Shores to Desert Dunes. The native vegetation of New South Wales and the ACT. Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW).

Keith, DA and Bedward, M (1999): Native vegetation of the South East Forests region, Eden, New South Wales. Cunninghamia6(1):1-218.

Miles, J (2006): Recognition and management of Endangered Ecological Communities in the south east corner of N.S.W. A report for the Eurobodalla and Far South Coast Local Management Teams of the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority.

Miles, J (2013): Detailed management plan for the BembokaRiver Reserve. Unpublished report to Bemboka Landcare Group.

Miles, J (2013): Bemboka Reserve native plant guide.

Anon (undated) Lowland Grassy Woodland in the South East Corner Bioregion – profile.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) Conservation Advice for Lowland Grassy Woodland in the South East Corner Bioregion.

Monroe, M. H. (2015): Woodlands of Australia in Australia: The Land Where Time Began. A biography of the Australian continent.

Photos courtesy of Jackie Miles and the State Library of NSW.

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This Bega Shire Hidden Heritage project has been made possible by the NSW Government through its Heritage Near Me program.

Any further information relating to this object or to associated topics will be GREATLY welcomed and will be added to the above library of information. Please email your contribution to


Princes Highway Bemboka NSW 2550