Rob Roy Nature Reserve

View of trees in a valley at Rob Roy Reserve



Rob Roy Nature  Reserve photo

Rob Roy Nature  Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a large reserve over 2,000 hectares  in size, located in southern Canberra. The reserve has very steep  walking tracks up to the highest points which offer great views of the Lanyon  Valley and the Murrumbidgee River.

The reserve protects yellow-box red-gum grassy woodland on the lower slopes, many rare plant  species and is important for woodland birds. It is mostly dry forest  including drooping she-oak (Allocasuarina  verticillata) which is important habitat for glossy black cockatoos.


  • Lookout
  • Walking tails

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, through activities such ‘fire stick farming’ and selectively cultivating certain plants, which created the landscapes first seen by European explorers and settlers.

With European settlement, the lands of the reserve were mostly used for grazing stock, which has left areas cleared of native vegetation. The reserve has a long history of sheep and cattle grazing. Rural leases apply over parts of Rob Roy.

Rob Roy and Williamsdale fall within the Burra and Keewong parishes, in the county of Murray. An 1891 census recorded that there were 71 dwellings in the Burra area, and that a number of small half-time schools had been established, including Williamsdale. The area, even though on the railway line, remained quite isolated and the separate communities - Royalla, Williamsdale, Googong, Burra and Urila - had assumed individual identities.

A vigilance committee was formed in 1911 to protect the interests of the residents of the Federal Capital Territory. George McKeahnie, member of the committee, negotiated for the Railway Commission to build a wool loading dump at the Williamsdale siding. The wool clips of Cuppacumbalong and the other properties from Naas to Bobeyan were then transported by horse team across the Murrumbidgee River at Angle Crossing for dispatch by rail.

Cultural heritage values

The reserve protects a number of 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. 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.



Vegetation communities  and associations

Much of Rob Roy is forested steep  slopes dominated by broad-leaved peppermint (E. dives), scribbly gum (E. rossii), mealy bundy (E. nortonii),  apple box (E. bridgesiana)and red box(E. poyanthemos).

The reserve supports regionally significant stands of black cypress pine  (Callitris endlicherie) and drooping she-oak  (Allocasuarina verticillata) which  provide habitat for glossy black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus  lathami).

Areas of threatened yellow box-blakely’s red gum grassy woodland are  found in the north and south of the reserve.

Plants – Land of diversity

Rob Roy protects large  populations of chamomile burr daisy (Calotis  anthemoides), green-comb spider orchid (Caladenia atrovespa), pink five-corners (Styphelia triflora), slender wire lily(Laxmannia gracilis), swanson’s silky pea  (Swansonia sericea), wedge diuris (Diuris dendrobioides), pale pomaderris (Pomaderris pallida) and hoary sunray

Other ACT rare plants found on  Rob Roy include:

  • Alpine wallaby grass (Rytidosperma nudiflorum)
  • Austral trefoil (Lotus australis)
  • Behr's swainson-pea (Swansonia behriana)
  • Fringe myrtle (Calytrix tetragona)
  • Hill fireweed (Senecio bathurstianus)
  • Large tick trefoil (Desmodium brachypodium)
  • Long-leaf waxflower (Philotheca myoporoides)
  • Pennywort (Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides)
  • Prickly moses (Acacia ulicifolia)
  • Pale flax lily (Dianella longifolia var longifolia)
  • Shaggy bristle fern (Cheilanthes distans)
  • Sickle fern (Pellaea falcata)
  • Tick bush (Indigofera adesmiifolia)
  • Yam daisy (Micoseris lanceolata)
  • Zornia (Zornia dyctiocarpa).

Animals – Home to many

Rob Roy is important habitat for  woodland birds and a number of threatened or declining birds have been  identified including the hooded robin (Melanodryas  cucullata) and brown tree creeper (Climacteris  picumnus).

The reserve supports the annual  autumn migration of honeyeaters across the Tuggeranong Valley with flocks of yellow-faced  honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops),  white-naped honeyeater(Melithreptus lunatus), fuscous honeyeater (L. fuscus)  and white-eared honeyeater (L. leucotis)  migrating in a west-east direction across the ACT.



Roy Roy Nature Reserve is accessible via a steep track from Orange Thorn Crescent in Conder.

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.