O'Connor Ridge Nature Reserve

O'Connor Ridge Nature Reserve panorama



O'Connor Ridge Nature Reserve

O’Connor Ridge Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 57 hectare reserve bordering Bruce Ridge and Black Mountain nature reserves.

The reserve has an extensive network of trails which are popular for bush walking and mountain biking.

O’Connor Ridge’s dry forest vegetation has a high plant diversity and notable orchid flora. The open vegetation is important for woodland species including threatened or regionally declining birds. It also protects a small area of critically endangered Yellow Box–Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland.


  • Nature appreciation
  • Bird watching
  • Walking
  • Mountain biking (only on marked Centenary Trail, multi-purpose trails, sealed cycle paths, and management 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.

Heritage sites

The reserve protects four 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 .

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

Portions of land in the O'Connor Ridge area were once selected by the Maloneys, Shumacks, and the Southwells — settler families whose names are still familiar in the ACT.

An old quarry site on the northern end of the reserve that was used as a rubbish tip is now covered with soil and revegetated.



Vegetation communities and associations

Much of the reserve protects forest and woodland that is partially modified. The ridge is highly disturbed, dominated by Phalaris (Phalaris aquatica) and other introduced species. A pine windbreak, planted many years ago, is on the eastern slope above the suburb of Lyneham.

O'Connor Ridge includes a small area of the endangered Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland. The grassland area is dominated by several native grasses including Redleg Grass (Bothriochloa macra), Wallaby Grasses (Rytidosperma spp.) and Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra).

Plants – Land of diversity

More than 60 native plant species have been identified in the reserve including the Slender Sun Orchid (Thelymitra pauciflora) and Common Onion Orchid (Microtis unifolia).

Animals – Home to many

The area provides habitat for woodland birds including the regionally declining Speckled Warbler (Chthonicola sagittata).



Access off Dryandra Street and Belconnen Way.

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.