Mitcham Home to Precious Habitat
City of Mitcham is home to some of the last remnants of Grey Box Grassy Woodland, a unique endangered habitat.
Grey Box Grassy Woodlands are home to the dominant Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) tree, a species that can grow to 25 metres in height and can be recognised by its grey-brown bark, pale green leaves and white flowers.
These woodlands often contain large, well-spaced trees, sometimes with less dominant South Australian Blue Gum and or Drooping Sheoak.
The mid-storey may contain Native Apricot, Golden Wattle, Kangaroo-thorn, Sticky Hop Bush or Sweet Bursaria.
Understorey species often include Native Cranberry, Spear Grass, Wallaby Grass, Kangaroo Grass, Flax Lily, Vanilla and Chocolate Lilies, Blue bells, Garland Lilies, Ruby Saltbush, Kidney weed, Guinea Flower, Raspwort and Rock Fern.
This habitat is listed nationally as an endangered ecological community under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, as less than 10 to 15 per cent remains across NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Much less remains in the Mt lofty Ranges.
Grey Box Woodland provides habitat for a range of threatened plants and animals, including many bird species passing through or taking up residence. Species common to Mitcham include the Budgerigar, White-throated Needletail, Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo and Australian Owlet-nightjar.
Grey Box Woodland continues to be cleared for agriculture and urbanisation. Other ongoing threats include firewood collection, fire prevention, weed infestations, dieback and climate change.
The City of Mitcham contains some of the Mt Lofty Ranges’ largest remaining patches in Council woodland reserves including Blackwood Hill Reserve, Randell Park, Karinya Reserve and Sleeps Hill Quarry Reserve, roadsides, private properties in the hills face zone and State-owned parks such as Belair National Park.
A Work in Progress
There are 34 volunteer groups working on restoration projects for native vegetation in the City of Mitcham. Most areas they cover contain Grey Box Woodland. In 2019, it is estimated that our volunteers contributed over 5,600 hours, or worth over $224,000, of on-ground restoration work.