Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve

Tree in Dunlop Grasslands



Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve photo

Dunlop Grasslands Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 103 hectare reserve located in north-west Belconnen on the ACT/NSW border. The reserve is gently sloping above the narrow flood plains of Gooromon Creek and is largely natural grassland.

The reserve contains endangered Natural Temperate Grassland and Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland. It supports the endangered Golden Sun Moth and is one of a few known habitats of the rare and locally endemic Canberra Raspy Cricket.

A number of grassy tracks cross the reserve and the Bicentennial National Trail also passes through the reserve.


  • Nature appreciation
  • Bird watching
  • Walking
  • Horse riding (only on marked equestrian 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, and created the landscapes first seen by European explorers and settlers through activities such as ‘fire stick farming’ and selectively cultivating certain plants, which created the landscapes first seen by European explorers and settlers.

With European settlement, Henry and Mary Hall settled in the area that is now Dunlop Nature Reserve in 1833, naming the property Charnwood. The remains of the house are just outside the grasslands, off Shakespeare Crescent, Fraser. They raised ten children and managed a successful agricultural business of sheep and dairy cows and bred Arab horses.

Once the ACT border was defined in 1912-13, the Charnwood estate was resumed and made available for lease by the government. William Tickner from Goulburn applied for land under the Soldier Settlement Scheme in 1923.

In 1928 the land was transferred to Frank Southwell, a member of a prominent pioneering family in the district, and the property was named Crowajingalong. Mr Southwell retired in 1956 and moved to Canberra.

The reserve and nearby suburb are named after Sir Edward Dunlop, held in high regard by former POWs, both for his exploits as a doctor on the notorious Burma-Thailand railway and for his work among veterans in the post-war years.

Cultural Heritage Values

The reserve protects 11 known Aboriginal heritage sites, being the physical (archaeological) traces of the rich Aboriginal history of the area. Stone artefacts are found in the reserve, occurring individually and in small scatters on the surface, and a number of areas are likely to contain buried archaeological deposits. Importantly, one of the heritage sites in the reserve contains glass modified by Aboriginal people in the years following European settlement, reflecting a period of rapid and dynamic change in the ACT’s history. These sites are of cultural significance to Traditional Custodians, linking generations of Aboriginal people over time, and they are also of archaeological significance as an important source of information on the history of the reserve and the ACT region.

All Aboriginal places and objects in the ACT are protected under the Heritage Act 2004 and must not be disturbed. Anyone finding an (unregistered) Aboriginal object or place has an obligation to report it to the Heritage Council.



Vegetation Communities and Associations

The reserve conserves a large patch (75 hectares) of endangered Natural Temperate Grassland which is dominated by Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis) and Wallaby Grass (Rytidosperma sp.)

The open woodland in the south-eastern part of the reserve protects around 20 hectares of endangered Yellow Box- Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland. The ground layer is dominated by native grasses.

Plants – Land of diversity

Regionally rare plants that occur in Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve include Common Water Plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica).

Animals – Home to many

Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve is habitat for the Golden Sun Moth (Synemon plana). Together with neighbouring grasslands, the reserve forms part of one of the largest patches of Golden Sun Moth habitat in Australia.



Access from many places in Dunlop and Fraser.

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

Download a PDF map

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.