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What’s Happening at the Meredith Police Paddocks Reserve


The 20 ha Meredith Police Paddocks (MPP) Reserve, located on Campion Road, immediately to the east of Meredith township, is one of 50 parcels of Crown Land managed by the Ballarat Environment Network (BEN) as ‘biodiversity’ reserves.

Well known to local people, the reserve has a long history of use for the spelling of police horses, beginning in 1867 and ending in 1988, as well as being site of the original Meredith police station.  The reserve is a delightful place, with the Coolebarghurk Creek valley the chief feature, its picturesque old swamp gums setting off the open grasslands of the upper reserve.  The reserve also contains a number of rare plant species, including Clover Glycine.

Since becoming committee of management for the reserve in 2007, the main task for the Network has been dealing with the very extensive weed problem, both in terms of number of species and extent. The reserve features a least a dozen virulent species, including gorse, blackberry, spiny rush and blue periwinkle. Great strides have been made in bringing the weed problem ‘under control’ but the task remains a large one.

A great deal of other work has been undertaken over the past 12 months, including:

• Extension of the paths network and the main network surfaced with crushed rock – both big improvements.

• Detailed research of the reserve’s koori and police history.

• Enhancing the quality of the indigenous grassland species that grow across the reserve: the planned ‘autumn burn’ didn’t take place due to unfavourable conditions (both too dry and then too wet) but the imperative remains to reduce the bulk and spread of exotic grasses such as phalaris that dominate much of the reserve. Meanwhile, grazing of the northern end of the reserve has reduced exotic grass growth considerably. 

• Five information signs were installed along the main walking route in February, together with two large signs at the Campion Rd and Nuttall St entrances in March.  The signs describe aspects of koori and European history and the biodiversity features and values of the reserve.

For 2014-15, the following new projects are planned:
• Creation of a small wetland inside the Nuttall St entrance to take advantage of an area that gets very wet, in part because it picks up stormwater runoff from Nuttall St.

• Establishment of wildflower patches along the main walking paths to highlight the reserve’s diverse indigenous flora.

• More community education activities, including fauna monitoring and educational walks (e.g.: ‘scats and tracks’, flora monitoring) involving Meredith Primary School and community generally.

• Exploring the potential to introduce art installations into the reserve – the environment of the reserve provides great inspiration for artistic creations.

If anyone is interested in being involved with the care and management of the Meredith Police Paddocks, please contact either: 

Jim Elvey, on 5286 1273 or by email: elvey@aapt.net.au or 

Network Executive Officer, Hedley Thomson, on 0428 027 895 or by email: hedleythomson@gmail.com.

Hedley Thomson, Executive Officer