This Property Brochure is at http://www.rogerclarke.com/Bunhybee/PropBrochure.html
To print, use this version: http://www.rogerclarke.com/Bunhybee/PropBrochure.pdf
Bunhybee Grasslands is a 49 hectare / 120 acre conservation property, located 35km south of Braidwood, in southern NSW, within the Palerang Council area. It is just on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range, in a side-valley of the Shoalhaven River basin. The valley largely comprises well-maintained pasture, and many of the creeklines have been re-vegetated. Some areas still timbered, particularly the higher elevations along the main range. The average annual rainfall on top of the range appears to be about 1,000mm (40in). On the property itself, it is c. 750mm (30in), but during the long drought 2000-09 the average was 580mm (23in) – 77% of the long-term average. The region is very windy and hence has a high evaporation-rate.
The property is an off-set rectangle, 1.4 km north-south and 400m east-west. A road runs along the western (downhill) side. The northern edge is forested, as is the northern third of the eastern edge. The middle-third is adjacent to a small, lightly-grazed property. A partner conservation property, Parlour Grasslands, lies to the south, and to the east of the southern third. The property is at an altitude 710-760m, part-way down the western-facing slope from Bunhybee Peak (946m) towards Jerrabattgulla Creek at c. 670m.
Further detail and maps are at http://www.rogerclarke.com/Bunhybee/DistrictGeography.html.
The area was first occupied by the Yuin Aboriginal people, probably the Dhurga, Dyiringanj and/or Djiringanj. The Braidwood area was 'discovered' in 1822, recognised as good pasture-land, and rapidly settled. There appears to have been [too much] interaction between indigenous people and the early settlers, and massive de-population occurred 1800-1850, primarily due to white men's diseases.
There is a continuous history of successful grazing in the area, and limited agriculture. It appears to have been mostly sheep with some cattle, but since the 1970s mostly cattle with some sheep. Irish names were prominent from the beginning, and several family-names are still in the district. The 'limits of settlement' until the 1840s were only 30km south, and there was a gold rush 20km NE at Major's Creek in the period 1851-1870. Alluvial mining continued in the area 25-30km north until 1920. Control by the authorities remained challenging through to the late 1800s.
The area has always been lightly-populated. There are one hall and one small church nearby. The couple of small primary schools were gone by the end of the 1950s. The nearest towns are Braidwood (35km north, population c. 1200), Major's Creek (20km NE, 125), Araluen (20km E, but 45km by road, 250) and Captain's Flat (30km NW, 500). The nearest highway is King's Highway, running east-west through Braidwood. Following the road southwards, the next small town is Numeralla, 80km away, population 50, then another 25km to Cooma (10,000). Even in 2011, the road south is unsealed from 30km south of Bunhybee for about the next 40km.
The name 'Bunhybee' derives from the Peak adjacent to the property. It can be pronounced '*Bunny-Bee', but a local authority says 'Bun*WhyBee'. It would be nice to find a local linguist who can clarify the possible pronunciation in Walbunja / Dhurga / Djiringanj, and what the term might have alluded to.
Further detail is at http://www.rogerclarke.com/Bunhybee/DistrictHistory.html.
A property 3.5km north was the subject of a land grant in 1828, and most of the area appears to have been granted, purchased or leased by the early 1840s.
Constructing a history of the property presents a great many challenges. Our working hypotheses are:
Further detail is at http://www.rogerclarke.com/Bunhybee/PropertyHistory.html.
The vegetation is mostly open grassland, but with snow-gum re-growth along the lower levels adjacent to the road. Much of the grassland is relatively dry (Themeda dominant, but rich in forbs), with some frequently-moist waterlines (Poa lab. dominant, with limited diversity). There are some rocky areas, and a north-facing slope that has different characteristics due to both the warmth and the presumed long-term use by flocks as a resting-area. There are aquatic plants in one medium-sized dam, one small dam, and cascades of semi-permanent water-holes along the two main waterlines, one each towards the northernmost and southernmost ends.
As a result of clearance combined with the absence of improvement, there is enormous diversity of native species and relatively limited incursions by exotic grasses, forbs and shrubs. The grassland is dominated by Themeda, Stipa and Poa species, with Austrodanthonia and Dichelachne as minor components. There is a rich diverstiy of forbs, with large patches of Pultenaea subspicata, Chrysocephalum apiculatum and Leptorhynchus squamatus. On the ridges between the two chains-of-ponds is Leptospermum and Kunzia parvifolium. Snowgums edge the road, and the grassland blends into a native forest on the northern boundary.
A number of exotics, including blackberries, serrated tussock, thistles, briar rose and fleabane, had made moderate incursions, but were brought under control during 2009-11. Several exotic grasses continue to present serious challenges (especially Yorkshire Fog, Paspalum and Phalaris). Various other weeds present little threat (e.g. dandelions, flat-weed, oxalis, centaury, proliferous pink, sorrel).
Further detail is available, about:
Linda bought the property specifically for its conservation value. The funds, and the motivation, came from her father, who was instrumental in protecting what is now Dorrigo National Park long enough for national parks to be invented. Further detail is at http://www.rogerclarke.com/Bunhybee/LS.html.
The property is subject to a Conservation Agreement, which obligates Linda and future owners to conserve the diversity of native flora. Converting that vague objective into action presents interesting challenges. Left alone, the forbs would be squeezed out by grasses, and by shade from proliferating snow-gums; and hence diversity would be lost. Further detail about our Weed Control program is at http://www.rogerclarke.com/Bunhybee/WCI.html.
Contact: Linda@xamax.com.au or Roger.Clarke@xamax.com.au
Version of 17 November 2011