Justice Robert Hope Park
Justice Robert Hope Park, part of Canberra Nature Park, is an 18 hectare low lying grassy woodland located in north-east Canberra, and adjacent to Mount Majura Nature Reserve.
The reserve includes critically endangered Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland dominated by large old, prolific trees which provide seasonal nectar and valuable foraging habitat for canopy-dwelling birds and arboreal fauna. Trees include hollows suitable for nesting birds.
- Nature appreciation
- Bird watching
- Dogs allowed on leash
Cultural Landscape – A continuing connection to country
Aboriginal people lived in and managed the landscape in this region for thousands of years and have maintained a connection to the land to the present day. Generations of Aboriginal people have cared for Country, and have been sustained, physically and spiritually through their relationship with the land, waterways and cosmology.
Traditional Custodians have actively managed the landscape through activities such ‘fire stick farming’ and selectively cultivating certain plants, which created the landscapes first seen by explorers and pastoral settlers.
Continuation of knowledge
Traditionally, the local Ngunnawal people shared knowledge and responsibility for Caring for Country. Today, this cultural knowledge continues to be passed down to younger generations and has a role to play in the management of ACT reserves. Aboriginal community organisations and the Murumbung Rangers in the ACT Parks and Conservation Service run cultural activities to educate the wider community about the cultural landscape, heritage values and land conservation practices.
Visit Murumbung Yurung Murra cultural activities to find out more about participating in cultural activities or attend a cultural tour with a local Traditional Custodian.
The reserve protects several Aboriginal heritage sites including stone artefacts, occurring individually and in small scatters on the surface, and a number of areas are likely to contain further Aboriginal heritage sites.
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.
Sites are listed on the ACT Heritage Register. If cultural artefacts are found they must not be disturbed to prevent a breach of the ACT Government Heritage Act 2004.
The area was managed by George Campbell, who owned 'Duntroon', one of the major holdings of nineteenth century Canberra. The land was later acquired by Archibald McKeahnie, who resided at 'Wells Station' about three kilometres to the north, until it was resumed by the Commonwealth in October 1915.
The reserve is named after Justice Robert Marsden Hope AC CMG QC (1919-1999), a barrister, judge and the first Chairman of the Heritage Council of NSW.
Vegetation communities and associations
A majority of the area supports low quality box-gum woodland. The over-storey is comprised of Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) (80 per cent) and Blakely's Red Gum (E. blakelyi)(20 per cent), with a few Apple Box (E .bridgesiana). One very old Scribbly Gum (E. rossii)also occurs within the reserve.
The Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland has many large healthy mature trees, some of which could be more than 400 years old. The trees have large-crowns and provide an important seasonal nectar source and foraging habitat for canopy-dwelling birds and arboreal fauna. A range of hollow sizes are important for bird breeding.
Plants – Land of diversity
Several plants considered rare in the ACT have been recorded in the reserve including: Austral Trefoil (Lotus australis), Five Cornered Jack (Styphelia triflera), Hairy Rock Fern (Cheilanthes distans), Hill Fireweed (Senecio hispidlus), Prickly Moses (Acacia ulicifolia), Pale Flax Lily (Dianella longifolia) and Tick Bush (Indigofera adesmiifolia).
A small population of the endangered Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans var. tricolor) has also been recorded in the reserve.
The areas of grassland and grassy understorey are dominated by the perennial native grass species, Tall Spear Grass (Austrostipa bigeniculata). Other native grasses include Wallaby Grasses (Rytidosperma spp.)Small patches and scattered individuals of various other native forb and grass species remain in some parts of the area.
Animals – Home to many
The general area is a hot spot for migratory threatened woodland birds in the ACT, including the Regent Honeyeater (Xanthomyza phrygia) and Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolour). Eighty-one native bird species have been recorded in Justice Robert Hope Park.
Justice Robert Hope Park is an environmental offset area. Learn more on the Justice Robert Hope Park offset area page.
The Watson Woodland Working Group is active within the reserve.
Justice Robert Hope Park is located off Antill Street in Watson. This park is also known as Watson Woodlands and is identified this way on Google Maps
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.