Mount Painter Nature Reserve

Mt Painter Nature Reserve panorama



Mount Painter Nature Reserve

Mount Painter Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 91 hectare reserve in West Belconnen.

The reserve protects a small area of endangered Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland which provides habitat for woodland birds.

Several plants which are rare in the ACT are found in the reserve.

Horse riding is permitted along the northern boundary on the Bicentennial National Trail.


  • Nature appreciation
  • Bird watching
  • Walking
  • Mountain biking (only on formed management trails)
  • Horse riding (only on designated trails)
  • Dogs are 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.

Heritage sites

The reserve has one recorded Aboriginal heritage site, and there are likely to be further sites.

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.

Historic Heritage

The reserve also includes the remnants of a nineteenth century hut that belonged to Roderick McDonald, whose family settled in the area in the mid nineteenth century, creating the 'Ashton' property. Other families associated with the land are the Shumacks, Chris Bell and Donald Tully, who ran sheep on their 500 hectare 'Hillview' property.  Orchards were once found in the area and included plum, pear, apple and walnut trees.

Mount Painter was known as 'Round Hill' in the early days of pastoral settlement.



Vegetation communities and associations

Mount Painter Nature Reserve has been substantially cleared on the upper slopes and there are a few remnant Red Stringybark (E. macrorhyncha) remaining on steeper slopes.

There is a small area of endangered Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and an area of Drooping She-oak (Allocasuarina verticillata) which is an important food source for the threatened Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami).

Plants – Land of diversity

Mount Painter supports relatively large populations of the rare Shaggy Rock Fern (Cheilanthes distans), Large Tick Trefoil (Desmodium brachypodiu) and Yellow Burr-daisy (Calotis lappulacea). Other rare species present in the main part of the reserve include Pale Flax Lily (Dianella longifolia) and Tick Bush (Indigofera adesmiifolia).

The Wildflower Triangle (behind Cook) is relatively free of weeds and contains a high diversity of plants. Rare and uncommon species in this area include Black Mountain Donkey Orchid (Diuris nigomontana),Brittle Greenhood Orchid (Diplodium truncatum), Rufus Midge Orchid (Corunastylis clivicola), Sun Orchid (Thelymitra megacalyyptra), Thin-clubbed Mantis Orchid (Arachnorchis atrovespa) and Yam Daisy (Microseris lanceolata).

Animals – Home to many

As Mount Painter has previously been extensively cleared, the value as a wildlife movement corridor has been reduced. Members of the Canberra Ornithologists Group have compiled a list of birds recorded in the reserve between 1986 and 2006.

The Wildflower Triangle is of high habitat value for woodland birds.


Friends of Mount Painter conducts regular activities such as weeding, tree planting and maintenance, interpretive walks and mapping of rabbit warrens. For further information visit the ParkCare Initiative page.



Mount Painter Nature Reserve is accessible from Coulter Drive on the west, and there are a number of pedestrian access points behind the suburb of Cook and on Bindubi Street.

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 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 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.