Read Creek Hills
Area: 493 hectares
Location: 20 kilometres south of Burra, about 200 kilometres north of Adelaide
Consisting: ridgeline tussock grasslands and mallee
Management: Worlds End Conservation Pty. Ltd.
Read Creek Hills is a 493 hectare property of rare remaining natural bush and grasslands in the Mid North of South Australia. Its purchase was finalised by Worlds End Conservation in 2010.
Read Creek Hills has the advantage of being surrounded by other significant areas of native vegetation, expanding and consolidating existing protected areas to almost 2000 hectares and providing valuable breathing space for the native animals and plants of the region.
Environmental values of Read Creek Hills
Read Creek, which runs through this property, is recognised as a special habitat area in the Murray Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Plan, being one the last remaining ecologically functioning creek and wetland systems in the eastern Mount Lofty escarpment. Read Creek feeds into the Burra Creek, a tributary of the Murray River.
The remainder of the property consists of ridgeline habitat in the Hallelujah Hills (also known as the Scrubby Ranges), and 65 hectares of the nationally threatened ecological community of Irongrass Open Tussock Grassland (Lomandra effusa and Lomandra multiflora spp. dura).
Historically these landscapes were only lightly grazed, but have made a good recovery and continue to thrive with the careful management of Worlds End Conservation.
Read Creek Hills contributes to establishing a comprehensive, adequate and representative national reserve system by increasing the area of native vegetation under formal protection within the Flinders Lofty Block IBRA Region – a high priority at a national and State level as only 5.5% is currently conserved. The property is within the Broughton sub-region which has less than 0.2% conserved in all forms of protected area, making it a very high priority indeed as a new protected area for the National Reserve System.
The many biodiversity values of Read Creek Hills have ensured its National Reserve and Heritage Agreement status.
The property provides:
- A protected area of land for the long-term protection of the local ecosystems and native plants and animals
- Conservation of vegetation in the Broughton sub-region of the Flinders Lofty IBRA bio-region where less than 1% is conserved
- Protection of an area of endangered Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grassland of South Australia listed under the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
- Protection of Read Creek, the last remaining ecologically functioning creek and wetland systems in the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges escarpment
- Expanding and consolidating existing protected areas to almost 2000 ha
- Buffering for a SA conservation reserve and linking a north-south band of native vegetation for increasing species ability to adapt to projected climate change
- One of the few examples of intact native vegetation in a transition zone between the rangelands and the agricultural areas of the Mid North.
Wildlife on Read Creek Hills
On Read Creek Hills we find bird species classed as rare in South Australia. They have been formally recorded in the similar habitat of the adjoining Hopkins Creek Conservation Park and include the Diamond Firetail, the Elegant Parrot, and the White Winged Chough. The low numbers of many bird species, particularly woodland birds in SA, is due to their loss of a secure habitat caused by extensive clearance, fragmentation and degradation of native vegetation. These birds find protection and space to breed on our properties. See our current bird list here.
The animals listed as vulnerable or endangered or rare in SA and the region include the Carpet Python, the Plains-wanderer, the Adelaide Pygmy Bluetongue lizard, and the Common Brushtail Possum. For a more comprehensive list of significant flora on Read Creek Hills see here.
Plants and plant communities on Read Creek Hills
On Read Creek Hills you can find Acacia spilleriana, a lovely small round-leafed wattle that is listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. We have it as our logo in recognition of the value we place on conserving such rare species in our surprising and beautiful part of South Australia.
There are also a number of plants that are listed as rare, vulnerable or uncommon in South Australia or specifically in the region. For Read Creek Hills’ plant list see here.
Threats to the conservation values of Read Creek Hills
Threats to the conservation values of this property are:
1. Grazing pressure from introduced animals, including deer, and over abundant native herbivores. This may be preventing the natural regeneration of sensitive species including the Drooping Sheoak, Allocasuarina verticillata, and native grasses in the mallee box grassy woodlands in the valleys and along the drainage lines.
2. Predation of native animals by foxes and cats.
3. The presence of pest plants, including boxthorns and horehound, competing with native vegetation.
4. Damage caused by unauthorised access to the property and damage from firewood collection, recreational use of off-road vehicles, trail bikes, and stray sheep.
Social and educational values
Read Creek Hills provides one of the few examples of intact native vegetation in a transition zone between the rangelands and the agricultural areas of the Mid North.
The Heysen Trail passes through Read Creek Hills allowing walkers to enjoy its beautiful scenery and its varied plant and wildlife. The nearby Worlds End Gorge is a popular tourism and camping destination for the natural beauty, biodiversity and picturesque landscape of the area.
There is evidence of early (unsuccessful) mining activity on the property leaving interesting remains of shafts and mining camps.
We are always interested in gathering any local knowledge of the cultural history of the property to add depth to our understanding and care of this precious land.
The objectives for managing Read Creek Hills are described in its Management Guidelines. Our current priorities are to protect it from human and agricultural impact by fencing the property, ridding the land of feral plants and animals, and allowing the land to regenerate in a natural manner.