Melrose Nature Reserve

Melrose Nature Reserve panorama



Melrose Nature Park

Melrose Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 193 hectare reserve located between the Monaro Highway and the ACT/NSW border on the eastern edge of the Tuggeranong Valley.

It protects Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and is important for woodland birds as well as populations of the vulnerable Pink-tailed Worm-lizard (Aprasia parapulchella).

The threatened plant Pale Pomaderris (Pomaderris pallida) is found in the reserve and uncommon species include Silky Swainson-pea (Swainsona sericea) and Wedge Diuris (Diuris dendrobioides).

The reserve provides an important link for wildlife moving from Rob Roy and Tuggeranong Hill nature reserves into NSW woodland and forest.

The reserve has few access points or management tracks.


  • Nature appreciation
  • Bird watching
  • Walking
  • Mountain biking

Dogs and other pets are not allowed.



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 as ‘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.

Heritage sites

The reserve protects three known Aboriginal heritage sites including stone artefacts, occurring individually and in small scatters on the surface, and it is likely that other as yet unrecorded sites also occur. Aboriginal grinding grooves are located in the nearby Tuggeranong Hill Nature Reserve.

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.

Historic Heritage

The area has been grazed since the 1860s. Following the passing of the 1861 Land Acts, the Brennan family of Irish immigrants established a house on a terrace above Tuggeranong Creek. In 1937 most of the land became part of the Melrose Valley Station.

A former Travelling Stock Reserve (7 hectares) that is adjacent to the NSW border, forms part of the reserve. The Queanbeyan–Cooma railway line (completed in 1889) borders part of the reserve.



Vegetation communities and associations

The reserve supports a mosaic of woodland and open forest types. Trees have largely been cleared but the understorey is diverse and generally dominated by native species.

About 40 per cent of the area supports critically endangered Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and the mid slopes support an open forest of Broad-leaved Peppermint (Eucalyptus dives) and Mealy Bundy (E. nortonii).

Shrub understorey species include Long-leaved Cassinia (Cassinia longifolia), Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa) and Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata). The ground layer includes many flowering herbs with the main grass species being Poa Tussock (Poa sieberiana), Wheat Grass (Elymus scaber) and Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis).

The rocky ridge tops support Mealy Bundy–Red Box–Red Stringybark Open Forest or Brittle Gum–Scribby Gum Open Forest. Common shrubs in the open forests include Burgan (Kunzea eriocoides), Pink Five-corners (Styphelia triflora), Grey Guinea Flower (Hibbertia obtusifolia) and Daphne Heath (Brachyloma daphnoides).

Areas adjoining the Monaro Highway have been planted with a mix of species that naturally occur in the general area such as Brittle Gum (E. mannifera), Scribbly Gum (E. rossii) and Black Wattle (A. mearnsii), as well as non-local natives such as River She-oak (Casuarina cunninghamiana), Cootamundra Wattle (A. baileyana) and other wattles.

Plants – Land of diversity

Melrose supports an abundance and diversity of plant species that are rare in the ACT, including Pale Flax-lily (Dianella longifolia var longifolia), important populations of Silky Swainson-pea (Swainsona sericea) and Wedge Diuris (Diuris dendrobioides), and a small population of the threatened Pale Pomaderris (Pomaderris pallida).

Animals – Home to many

The woodland and open forest on Melrose, together with its high connectivity value and general isolation from urban development, make it important woodland bird habitat. Melrose and the area around the reserve is one of the few areas near Canberra in which the Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata) has recently been recorded. A nest tree which may be utilised by the vulnerable Little Eagle (Hieraaetus morphnoides) has also been recorded in the area.

The reserve has a significant area of potential habitat for the vulnerable Pink-tailed Worm-Lizard (Aprasia parapulchella).



Access is from the Monaro Highway.

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 37 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.