Friends of Grasslands

supporting native grassy ecosystems


PO Box 987

Civic Square ACT 2608

Phone: 02 62.. ....


Canberra national heritage assessment

Heritage and Wildlife Division

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

GPO Box 787




Dear Sir/Madam


Canberra the planned national capital: national heritage assessment


Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission to the Australian Heritage Council concerning the proposed national heritage listings for Canberra (email to Naarilla Hirsch 30 July 2012).


Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. It advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, carries out surveys and other on-ground work. Based in Canberra, FOG’s members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.


FOG is particularly pleased the Council will be considering ‘potential natural, Indigenous and historic heritage values related to the city of Canberra and the inner hills ...’ as part of its assessment of the proposed listings. Walter Burley Griffin’s vision of Canberra included placement of ‘national monuments in a natural landscape’.  The nomination for Canberra – Central National Area and Inner Hills in particular presents an opportunity to recognise significant natural heritage values within the natural landscapes of the nation’s capital.


The foreshores and surrounding areas of Lake Burley Griffin include areas of natural significance which are important for our national environmental heritage. Within the Central National Area at Scrivener’s Hut, Yarramundi Reach and Stirling Ridge, there are areas of Yellow Box – Red Gum Grassy Woodland, and of Natural Temperate Grassland, both endangered ecological communities. Other, small sites of Natural Temperate Grassland exist in York Park and at St Marks, Barton. Several endangered or vulnerable species also exist in these sites: the endangered Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides (Button Wrinklewort) on Stirling Ridge and at St Marks; the critically endangered Synemon plana (Golden Sun Moth) at St Marks, York Park and Yarramundi Reach and the vulnerable species Delma impar (Striped Legless Lizard) at Yarramundi Reach. The presence of such diverse examples of the nation’s biological heritage so close to some of the nation’s most significant built heritage is extraordinary and should be recognised and conserved.


Below are references which detail the conservation significance of these areas in the Territory and national context together with a summary of the status of the associated endangered communities and species. The publications also identify conservation activities proposed by the ACT and Federal governments. FOG takes the view that this evidence strengthens the case for Canberra’s national heritage listing and asks that it be cited in the nomination. FOG also asks that the nomination include a recommendation for revision of the National Capital Plan to formally recognise and conserve the heritage values set out in the proposed heritage listing. In practical terms for areas of natural heritage this should include rezoning national capital lands at key sites, including Scrivener’s Hut, Yarramundi Reach and Stirling Ridge, to prioritise nature conservation and exclude incompatible development.


The presence of endangered Natural Temperate Grassland and Box-Gum Grassy Woodland sites, together with dependent fauna and flora, in the Central National Area and Inner Hills in FOG’s view, strengthens the case for nomination of Canberra on the national heritage list. These sites add to the value of Canberra’s natural heritage, enhance its status as “the bush capital” and their conservation would recognise Griffin’s remarkable vision for a planned city that would showcase its natural values.


Sincerely yours






John Fitz Gerald



8 August 2012




ACT Government. (2004). Woodlands for wildlife: ACT lowland woodland conservation strategy Action Plan No. 27. Canberra: Environment ACT.

ACT Government. (2005). A vision splendid of the grassy plains extended: ACT lowland native grassland conservation strategy Action Plan No. 28. Canberra: Arts, Heritage and Environment.

Cooper M., 2009. Report on ACT Lowland Grassland Investigation. Office of Commissioner of Sustainability and the Environment, March 2009.

Environment ACT (2005) National Recovery Plan for Natural Temperate Grassland of the Southern Tablelands (NSW and ACT): an endangered ecological community (Environment ACT, Canberra).

Godden Mackay Logan. (2009). Lake Burley Griffin and adjacent lands heritage management plan. Canberra: National Capital Authority.

SEWPAC, 2012. White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland SPRAT Profile.

Sharp, S. (2009). Conservation Management Plans For Sites Managed by the National Capital Authority: Yarramundi Reach Grassland, Stirling Park Woodland, Yarralumla, Guilfoyle St Grassland, Yarralumla and Lady Denman Drive Grassland, Yarralumla. Canberra: National Capital Authority.



Summary of ecological communities and species:


Species/ community Status under relevant legislation
  Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 ACT Nature Conservation Act 1980 NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
White Box - Yellow Box – Red Gum Grassy Woodland Critically endangered Endangered Endangered
Natural Temperate Grassland of the Southern Tablelands Endangered Endangered  
Synemon plana - Golden Sun Moth Critically endangered Endangered Endangered
Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides  - Button Wrinklewort Endangered Endangered Endangered
Delma impar  - Striped Legless Lizard Vulnerable Vulnerable Vulnerable