Crace Grassland Nature Reserve
Crace Grassland Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 156 hectares low-lying grassland reserve in the Gungahlin Valley which rises to a rocky knoll (Crace Hill) at 622 metres.
The reserve area includes a relatively large remnant of endangered natural temperate grassland containing a significant population of threatened and endangered species, including the button wrinklewort, striped legless lizard, the golden sun moth and the perunga grasshopper.
Grassy tracks cross the reserve and a fenced horse riding track is in the reserve's north east.
- Nature appreciation
- Bird watching
- Horse riding (only on designated trails)
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 ‘fire stick farming’ and selectively cultivating certain plants, which created the landscapes first seen by European explorers and settlers. Grasslands such as at Crace were frequently burnt to maintain high levels of fresh, succulent, green growth to attract animals for hunting into an area, and also to provide clear pathways between cultural places.
The Australian Department of Defence previously managed part of the land and a transmission station located on the site was demolished in 2008.
Cultural Heritage Values
The reserve protects one known Aboriginal heritage site, being a physical (archaeological) trace of the rich Aboriginal history of the area. Stone artefacts are found in the reserve, occurring in a small scatter on the surface, and this site is likely to contain further buried archaeological deposits. This site is of cultural significance to Traditional custodians, linking generations of Aboriginal people over time and is of archaeological significance as an important source of information on the history of the reserve and the ACT region.
Vegetation Communities and Associations
- About 60 per cent of the reserve consists of natural temperate grassland or native pasture. Natural temperate grassland is dominated by kangaroo grass (Themeda australis) or (Poa sieberiana) with other native grasses and forbs present such as wallaby grass (Rytidosperma spp.), spear grass (Austrostipa spp.), hairy panic (Panicum effusum), common everlasting (Chrysocephalum apiculatum), scrambled eggs (Goodenia pinnatifida), blue devil (Eryngium ovinum) and lemon beauty heads (Calocephalus citreus).
- Native pasture is dominated by wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia spp.), spear grass (Austrostipa spp.) and red grass (Bothriochloa macra).
- Forty per cent of the reserve supports heavily weed-invaded native pasture or exotic pasture dominated by sown exotic pasture grasses and naturalised perennial weeds.
- Planted woodland and treed windrows occur in the northern and southern extents of the reserve. A small patch of endangered yellow box-red gum grassy woodland occurs at the northern boundary.
Plants – Land of diversity
- Crace contains a population of approximately 5, 000 plants of the endangered button wrinklewort daisy (Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides). This is one of the largest populations in the ACT.
- It also supports small populations of the nationally endangered hoary sunray (Leucochrysum albicans) and regionally rare creeping bossia (Bossiaea prostrata), chamomile burr daisy (Calotis anthemoides) and narrow plantain (Plantago gaudichaudii).
- There are historical records, but no recent sightings of marsh grass (Puccinella perlaxa) and zornia (Zornia dyctiocarpa) in the general vicinity of Crace grasslands. There are only six records of marsh grass from the ACT and they are all in Gungahlin.
Animals – Home to many
- The nationally vulnerable striped legless lizard (Delma impar) is the most common vertebrate found in the reserve, with an estimated population of between 2,000-3,000 animals.
- Golden sun moths are found in the reserve.
- Other grassland fauna common in the reserve include the three-toed skink (Hemiergis decresiensis), delicate skink (Lampropholis delicate), grass skink (L. guitchenoti), common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera)and spotted grass frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis).
Access is off Bellenden Street (Mitchell) and Randwick Road.
Note: If you have difficulty accessing the information in this map please contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
About Canberra Nature Park
The ACT Parks and Conservation Service is responsible for managing Canberra Nature Park. Canberra Nature Park is made up of over 35 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 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.
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.
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.