Callum Brae Nature Reserve

Callum Brae Reserve bushland



Callum Brae Nature Reserve photo

Callum Brae Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 143 hectare reserve in Symonston, located on the lower eastern slopes of Mount Mugga Mugga. It is an important link in a chain of woodland reserves extending from Red Hill to Wanniassa Hills and across to Cooleman Ridge. Its gently rolling slopes have scattered trees with a grassy understory.

The reserve provides excellent bird habitat and is a refuge for threatened and declining woodland bird species including the White-winged Triller, Varied Sittella and Dusky Woodswallow. The reserve is one of the largest areas of endangered Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodland and an integral part of a woodland corridor which stretches from Canberra across the border into NSW. It is also home to the threatened Perunga Grasshopper.

Callum Brae has a small number of grassy tracks across the reserve. Old munitions stores are on the boundary nearest to Mugga Lane. Marked walking tracks with signage inform walkers about the unique values of the reserve.


  • Nature appreciation
  • Bird watching
  • Walking

Dogs and other pets are not allowed.



Land use history

The ACT has a long and rich Aboriginal history, extending from the present day back at least 25,000 years. Over this time, generations of Aboriginal people have cared for Country, and have been sustained, physically and spiritually, through their relationship with the land. Traditional Custodians have also actively managed the landscape for thousands of years, through activities such as ‘fire stick farming’ and selectively cultivating certain plants, which created the landscapes first seen by European explorers and settlers.

In 1825 Robert Campbell established the 4,000 acre property ‘Duntroon’ on the Molonglo River at Pialligo, and extended his land holdings in 1838 by purchasing land south of the Molonglo, including the area that is now Callum Brae Nature Reserve.

The Duntroon property was resumed in 1913 for the Federal Capital Territory. In 1919 the Callum Brae area was leased to returned soldier Hector MacIntosh, who worked the property until 1933.

The area now protected as nature reserve borders the Callum Brae pastoral property, which includes the heritage listed Callum Brae shearers' quarters and woolshed.



Vegetation communities and associations

  • Callum Brae is part of one of the largest, best connected and most diverse areas of Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodland remaining in Australia and has a high level of biodiversity. There is an area of Broad-leaved Peppermint (Eucalyptus dives) on the southern slopes.
  • The ground layer is dominated by native grasses, primarily Wallaby Grass (Rytidosperma spp.) and Spear Grass (Austrostipa spp.). There is a low-to-moderate diversity of native forbs. Annual grasses and other introduced annual species are prominent. Past grazing and agricultural practices have resulted in the loss of habitat diversity, especially fallen timber.

Plants – Land of diversity

Rare plant species (with relatively small populations) recorded in Callum Brae include Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans var. tricolor) and Pale Flax Lily (Dianella longifolia).

Animals – Home to many

The reserve provides high quality habitat for threatened and declining bird species including:

  • Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata)
  • Southern Whiteface (Aphelocephala leucopsis)
  • White-winged Triller (Lalage suerui) and
  • Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera).

The threatened Perunga Grasshopper (Perunga ochracea) is also found in the reserve.



Best accessed from Narrabundah Lane.

Note: If you have difficulty accessing the information in this map please contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

About Canberra Nature Park

Canberra Nature Park is made up of 38 nature reserves ranging from bushland hills to some of the best examples of lowland native grassland and endangered ecological community of Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodland left in Australia. The ACT Parks and Conservation Service is responsible for managing Canberra Nature Park. For more information visit the Canberra Nature Park webpage.


The management of Canberra Nature Park is greatly assisted by a group of volunteers called ParkCare. ParkCare volunteers undertake a variety of activities including seed collection, plant propagation, tree planting, weed removal, erosion control, vegetation mapping and recording, water quality monitoring, raising community awareness and the maintenance and restoration of heritage places.

For more information visit ParkCare

Caring for Ngunnawal Country

The ACT Government acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as Traditional Custodians of the Canberra region, and their continuing sense of responsibility to preserve the spirit and stories of their ancestors throughout the landscape. Cultural values ;are also living and current, as much as an appreciation of the past. For more information visit Caring for Ngunnawal Country.

Canberra Nature Map

Report rare and endangered plant sightings via the Canberra Nature Map.


For more information on heritage tracks, visit Canberra Tracks which is a network of heritage signage that incorporates six self-drive routes leading to many of Canberra’s historic sites.

Prescribed burns

The ACT Parks and Conservation Service conducts prescribed burns throughout Canberra Nature Park.

More information and feedback

For more information or to provide feedback, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or complete an online feedback form.