dandenong ranges national park

In 1987 Sherbrooke Forest, Doongalla Reserve and Ferntree
Gully National Park were combined to form Dandenong
Ranges National Park. Covering 3215 hectares, the park plays
an important role in protecting a population of famous
lyrebirds and other fauna, as well as protecting the forests and
fern gullies of the Ranges. Since June 1997 Olinda State Forest
Dandenong Ranges N.P and the Mt Evelyn Forest have also been included in
Dandenong Ranges National Park.
Things to Do
Tourist rides on
“Puffing Billy” steam
Scenic drives through the Ranges are just as popular
now as they have been for many years.
Enjoy a picnic at the Fern Tree Gully Picnic Ground or
at One Tree Hill or in Sherbrooke Forest.
Near the park are coffee shops and restaurants, bed and
breakfasts, craft shops, antique shops, gardens and the
historic Puffing Billy train from Belgrave to
Gembrook. Numerous walking tracks are excellent for
short family strolls or longer hikes
Coffee shops, craft, gifts
and galleries.
Originally used by the Bunurong and Woewurrong Aboriginal
tribes, the Ranges became an important source of timber for
early Melbourne and much of the forest was cleared. Farming
became established late last century as roads and railways
were built. The 'Puffing Billy' narrow-gauge line from Ferntree Family Picnics and
Gully to Gembrook was opened in 1900.
Scenic drivers are seen
in autumn because of
the coloured European
trees that line the road.
The area became popular with tourists from the 1870s
onwards; Fern Tree Gully was first reserved as a park in 1882
and other areas followed. The present national park was
established in 1987.
Some of the heritage of the Dandenongs is depicted in
paintings by famous artists such as Sir Arthur Streeton.
Reproductions of their works can be found on signs in the park
and around the Ranges.
The park is rich in wildlife with 130 native bird species, 31
native mammals, 21 reptiles and nine amphibian species
Leadbeaters Possum
Laughing Kookaburra
The Superb Lyrebird is its most famous inhabitant. People the
world over are fascinated by the ability of this bird to mimic
the calls of other bird species, and by the dancing display and
beautiful tail of the male. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Crimson
Rosellas, Laughing Kookaburras, Eastern Yellow Robins,
Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and Pied Currawongs are some of
the native birds most frequently seen in the park.
Heavily-scarred eucalypt trees are evidence of the night-time
feeding of Yellow-bellied Gliders, and tiny Feather-tail
Gliders make their homes in the hollows of mature trees. Tree
Goannas can also be found in the park.
Ringtail Possum
The plant communities in the park are remnants of the original
vegetation that has receded over the last 150 years with the
rapid growth of Melbourne's suburbs.
Mountain Ash
Tree fern gully
Dandenong Ranges National Park has six major vegetation
communities in which about 400 indigenous plant species
occur. The park is particularly well known for its spectacular
Mountain Ash forests and fern gullies.
Other vegetation communities include Cool Temperate
Rainforest, Box Stringybark Woodland, Riparian Forest,
Mountain Grey Gum -Messmate Forest and Sclerophyll
Woodland. The park supports significant plants such as the
Slender Tree-fern and Summer Spider Orchid. Fire plays an
important role in the ecology of the vegetation and is an ongoing issue for residents of the Ranges.
Riparian forest
Looking After the Park
Dogs and other pets are not permitted within park
Messmate gully
Firearms are not permitted.
Electric/gas barbecues are available in the Fern Tree
Gully Picnic Ground, and in Grants, Sherbrooke,
O'Donohue and One Tree Hill picnic grounds.
Please stay on marked tracks.
Do not disturb or remove any plants or animals.
Please take all rubbish home - no bins are provided.
No pets
How to Get There
The 40 kilometre drive from Melbourne via Burwood
Highway or Canterbury Road is approximately 1 hour.
Alternatively, take the train to Upper Ferntree Gully or
Belgrave station. Melway maps 52, 65, 74, 75, 120 and 122
give additional details.
No bins so no rubbish
Change in Forest Environments:
Devastated habitat
Burnt kangaroo
1997 - 21 January
Five major fires broke out including fires in the Dandenong
Ranges that caused three fatalities, destroyed 41 houses and
burnt 400 hectares. Other areas affected include Arthurs Seat,
Eildon State Park, Gippsland and Creswick.
In areas bordered by the tall forests the threat of severe
bushfire means constant vigilance by all country communities.
Many believe insufficient fuel reduction burning of Crown
forests means another summer catastrophe is inevitable.
“I was in Ash Wednesday, we lost our house, our house was
totally clear, but the fireballs coming through the trees were
sointense there was no way you were going to stop it no matter
what, unless you cleared totally for hundreds of metres around
your house”, one land owner told ABC’s Landline program.
Regenerating Eucalypts
Wildlife Rescue
Fire scientist Kevin Tolhurst has so far analysed 1500 native
species from information gained from past fires. The
Department (Department of Sustainability and Environment) is
devising a database for an estimated 5,000 types of plants,
determining the optimum frequency and intensity of the fires
that they require.
Hakea pods open
Loss of property
“We might not burn the acreage that used to be burnt, but we
burn in very strategic areas so that we have our zone ones
protecting townships, we have our zone twos to create some
corridors and even along private property and we do get some
of that old mosaic with our zone threes, perhaps not as much
as that mosaic effect that we referred to with the Aboriginal or
some of the previous burning on top of that,” he said.
“We also have some zone four which is ecological burning so
that if they've got a rare or threatened species that actually
needs fire for its survival, we can actually apply fire in that
particular area to help that particular species."
Silvan Dam
Silvan Dam
In 1914 a severe drought prompted the search for extra water
supplies for Melbourne. By 1917 a suitable site for a storage
reservoir was located near the township of Silvan which lay
across the Stonyford Creek. Water for Silvan Reservoir would
come almost entirely from other reservoirs (mainly the
O'Shannassy) as Silvan Reservoir's water catchment was quite
Construction commenced on the outlet channel and stilling
basins in 1926. In 1927 the main construction began. All good
timber was cleared from the catchment. This consisted mainly
of messmate and grey gum which was used for the
construction of camps and offices. All other vegetation was
then cleared to approximately 10 metres above the high water
level to ensure maximum water quality.
By 1928 building of the dam wall had commenced. Once
complete it would measure 644 metres long at its crest, 219
metres wide at its base and 43 metres high
Silvan Reservoir commenced water storage in June, 1931. By
December of that year, Silvan was holding three-quarters of its
maximum capacity. The dam was officially opened on 7 July,
Today Silvan Reservoir receives its water supply from the
Thomson, Upper Yarra and O'Shannassy Reservoirs. In turn,
Silvan Reservoir supplies domestic water to many of
Melbourne's suburbs and other large off-stream storage
reservoirs such as Cardinia and Greenvale.
Back-burning a firebreak
Urbanisation, widespread clearance of native vegetation and
the construction of the reservoir has had a dramatic effect on
the abundance and diversity of native fauna in the park. Other
impacts on native fauna in this area includes competition and
predation from introduced animals such as the fox, rabbit and
cat. These introduced vermin have also caused widespread
destruction of habitat as a result of their behaviour.
Feral Fox
Silvan Reservoir Park is home to a number of native mammals
such as the short-beaked echidna, common brushtail and
ringtail possums, sugar glider and the common wombat. These
are found in the forested areas of the Stonyford Creek. A
variety of bat species also inhabit areas of Silvan Reservoir
Silvan Reservoir Park is frequented by a diverse range of
birds. Herons, spoonbills, duck species, rosellas, wedge-tailed
eagles, thornbills, treecreepers, robins, owls and cockatoo
species can all be observed.
Feral Cat
The picnic grounds of Silvan Reservoir Park are
approximately 20 ha in size and consist mainly of exotic and
non-indigenous vegetation, representing the cultural history of
the area. Created in the 1930's, the gardens were designed to
reflect a European style. Cypress, spruce, liquidamber, poplar,
and maples are just some of the beautiful exotic trees you will
see at Silvan Reservoir Park.
The Stonyford Creek area consists of remnant native
vegetation, ranging from typical riparian to a drier open forest
vegetation type. Dominant species within this area include
peppermint and messmate eucalypts, grey gums, wattles,
banksias and native grasses. A variety of fern species are also
common along the creek banks.
Ring tailed possum
Common wombat
1.When was the Dandenong Ranges National Park formed?Why do you think they combined the forest and
the parks? Guess.
2. What do the parks protect?
3.List activitites enjoyed by tourists.
4. Fill in the table below. List how the region was used by humans before the park was formed and judge
level of destruction caused by this activity
Human activity
Destructive Level (/10)
5. The park is “rich” in wildlife. What do you expect this to mean?
6.What is the park’s most famous bird inhabitant?
7.Remnant vegetation means remains of the original. What could have got rid of the rest?
8.List the major vegetation communities in the park?
9. When was the last major bushfire in the park ? How much damage did it do?
10. Fuel reduction burns means a controlled burn-off of dry grass and undergrowth before the fire season.
Is this a good idea? Explain.
11. Why is burning-ff during fuel reduction burns not always enough to save houses?
12. Why is fire important to hakeas ?
13.List the 4 burning zones managed by the park?
14.Why was the Silvan Dam built? Do we have similar problems today? Explain.
15. What was cleared from the region before the dam was built? How would this effect the habitats of local
animals (fauna)?
16.What three human activities have had a dramatic effect on native animals found in the dam’s park?
17. What impact have introduced animals had on the park?
18.Which of the native animals listed could be harmed by feral foxes and cats?
19. The picnic grounds vegetation is exotic European trees. Could this be harmful to local animals?
20. Silvan Dam supplies water to Melbourne. Why is management of this park so important to us here in
Hobson’s Bay?