Yarramundi Grasslands is on the western side of Lake Burley Griffin, off Lady Denman Drive between Acacia Inlet and Barrenjoey Drive. The site includes significant environmental and cultural values, important native grassland supporting threatened species, and the Burringiri Cultural Centre.
Yarramundi Grasslands was originally used by the local Ngamberi and Ngunnawal peoples, whose association with this land continues today, including through the Cultural Centre on the site. After European settlement, the site was used to graze sheep from the 1820s until the 1960s when Lady Denman Drive was constructed. Today there is a cycleway passing through the site, and the foreshore is used for fishing. The building at Yarramundi Grasslands was erected in the early 1990s and is now the Burringiri Cultural Centre. The focus of the Centre is to retain artefacts and provide a focus for education and reconciliation with local Indigenous people.
Yarramundi Grasslands contains 21 hectares of Natural Temperate Grassland, which is listed as Endangered under both federal (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities [External Link]) and ACT legislation (ACT Government Territory and Municipal Services [External Link]). Natural Temperate Grassland is dominated by tussock grasses up to 100 cm tall, and has less than 10% tree coverage. It occurs in the Southern Tablelands of the ACT and NSW at altitudes of between 560 m in the north and 1200 m in the south of its distribution.
Two threatened species - the Striped Legless Lizard [External Link] and the Golden Sun Moth [External Link]- were recorded at Yarramundi Grasslands in surveys in the 1990s. The vulnerable Perunga Grasshopper (link to PG page) also occurs on the site. The foreshores of Yarramundi Reach form part of the Acacia Inlet, which is significant habitat for wetland birds.
Today, the site is managed by the National Capital Authority, and its management is informed by a range of planning documents. The National Capital Plan identifies Yarramundi Reach as national capital use. The ACT Lowland Woodland Conservation Strategy and the Conservation Management Plan recommends the protection of Yarramundi Reach for its conservation values. The management of the site is primarily guided by the NCA’s Conservation Management Plans for Sites Managed by the National Capital Authority 2009. Management of heritage values is also undertaken in accordance with the Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands Heritage Management Plan.
The key management need at Yarramundi Grasslands is weed control. The area next to the lake has been planted with non-local eucalypts, and is also heavily infested with woody weeds such as Willow, Poplar and Blackberry. Herbaceous weeds – such as Chilean Needle Grass, St John’s Wort, Paspalum and Wild Oats – have also invaded areas of the site.
Fire management is also a significant issue for Yarramundi Grasslands. The Christmas 2001 fires that began in the Stromlo Forest burnt part of the site. Prior to 2001 there are no records of significant wildfires at the site. Without period reduction of biomass, such as through burning or slashing, the native grasses at Yarramundi Grasslands become overgrown and crowd out the wildflowers that grow between grass tussocks.
Yarramundi Grasslands can be visited at any time of year, but in October to mid December the site displays some attractive wildflowers, such as Bulbine Lilies and Blue Devils. Look out for the Perunga Grasshopper (link to PG page), which is in its adult phase over the summer months.