Laura Hillis Senior Corporate Affairs Consultant
You may know that as a Bank Australia customer you are a part-owner in our Conservation Reserve, but you might not know that our reserve provides a thriving example of Australian woodlands and wetlands.
The Bank Australia Conservation Reserve is a part of Habitat 141, a major project bringing together a number of conservation partnerships to protect an important part of Australia’s landscape. One of the main goals of this project is to protect the rivers, wetlands and woodlands of the south-west Wimmera region.
Connecting the Wimmera
The Conservation Reserve falls within the traditional lands of the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk people. These groups have been the traditional owners of this landscape for over 40, 000 years. Since European colonisation the land has been heavily cleared and currently, between 5-30% of native vegetation remains. Most of the remnant vegetation occurs in small unconnected patches, making it difficult for wildlife to move through.
Our reserve is helping the broader Habitat 141 goal to restore connectivity in this region. A long-term goal of this project is to reconnect Little Desert National Park to the Grampians and Dergholm State Parks. Check out the location of the Bank Australia Conservation Reserve here.
The beautiful buloke woodlands once dominated eastern Australia from Queensland down to south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia. They are one of the only food sources for the South-Eastern Red Tailed Black Cockatoo and support the Buloke mistletoe, a beautiful native mistletoe species. The mistletoe in turn attracts small birds and butterflies.
Over one-third of Australia’s land birds are woodland dependent – many are highly mobile birds that use woodlands as a rich food source.
Grassy woodlands, which contain native grasses alongside large trees such as the buloke, provide important homes for ground fauna such as wallabies, kangaroos, seed-eating birds such as Diamond Firetails and native mice.
The Conservation Reserve has six wetlands – however they are only visible during the wet months of the year. Some wetlands re-appear with rain and others may not re-appear for a number of years, if the weather is too dry. Like the wetlands, the threatened Growing Grass Frog likes the wetter weather and is sometimes seen on the Conservation Reserve in wetter times. Other species supported by wetlands include the Pobblebonk, the Hardhead (a duck species) and the Inland Ringtail (a dragonfly species).
Healthy woodlands and wetlands are teeming with life. The call of a Growling Grass Frog – characterised by a grunt and growl, the messy mayhem of the South Eastern Red Tailed Black Cockatoo feasting, or the cheerful songbird call of a Diamond Firetail (a small finch), are all sounds you might encounter on a short walk through the Reserve.
As we continue to work closely with Trust for Nature and Greening Australia to manage the reserve and improve the quality of the existing vegetation, we hope to continue to observe an increase in the wildlife that calls the reserve home.
Photo: Buloke woodland on the Bank Australia Conservation Reserve provides an important food source for endangered South-Eastern Red Tailed Black Cockatoos