Long Point is 500 acres of magnificent Red Gum studded country, on the edge of Dunkeld – at the gateway of the southern Grampians.
Thanks to the generosity of a major private donor, NGT was able to acquire the property in July 2018 without the need for a fundraising campaign – which was tremendous given that this is normally the main obstacle we encounter in the restoration process.
Long Point is 200 hectares in size (of the original 259 hectare property shown below), and is bounded by the Dunkeld Racecourse and Cemetery on the west, Old Ararat Road on the south and the Wannon River along its northern boundary. This means it is literally on the north-eastern fringe of town, which opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities for NGT down the track, given the popularity of Dunkeld and the Grampians for travellers seeking nature-based experiences.
Given a long history of farming, the woodland consists of a largely modified understorey of introduced pasture species, and we certainly have a few management challenges to address – like a very large resident Eastern Grey Kangaroo population which is limiting natural regeneration. But on the plus side, and despite its modified condition, grassland areas on the property are home to a population of the nationally threatened Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar), the Wannon River here is home to populations of Platypus and nationally threatened fish, and River Red Gums, which are hundreds of years old, provide the perfect building blocks for a future grassy woodland restoration project. Indeed the longevity and future of those magnificent old trees, which make Dunkeld (and Long Point) the magic place that it is, were the subject of a fascinating on-line article by Ian Lunt published a few years ago, called the Candles of Dunkeld – you can read that article here.
But before we rush into any major decisions, and given the other nearby projects we have underway that are a current priority for us (like Walker Swamp, several kilometres up-river), from the outside this property will appear to remain in ‘maintenance mode’ for the time being. This means that while we get to know the place and actively seek funding to implement our conservation plans, it will continue as a working farm, meeting similar conservation goals as the previous owner had identified for the property (woodland regeneration and threatened species).
Also note that the new conservation goals we ultimately settle on for a property of this type might end up having a slightly different focus to our other reserves, and will more than likely be experimental in nature. Grassland and grassy woodland fauna will feature heavily in our thinking, as will innovative ways of addressing the imbalances in the ecosystem that have led to the proliferation of an over-abundant kangaroo population.
If you’re as excited as we are about the future possibilities and would like to help accelerate our long-term plans for Long Point (or our other Reserves), then please consider donating to the NGT Foundation. All donations over $2 are fully tax-deductible.
To close, here is the vista at our magnificent patch of ground in the heart of the southern Grampians, as captured at our 2018 annual staff workshop.
Stories on the NGT website about Long Point