The Bimberi Nature Reserve sits on an elevated block of the Brindabella Range about 30 kilometres south-west of Canberra. The 10,886 hectare reserve lies in an area declared as wilderness between Kosciusko National Park and Namadgi National Park and provides continuity for landscape diversity and ecological values over a large area of the sub-alpine and montane area. The reserve protects the scientifically significant natural ecosystems on Mount Ginini and Mount Gingera, particularly the sub-alpine vegetation types and Bogong moth habitats.
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There are two areas along the Mount Franklin Road which offer facilities for recreation and which are wholly or partly within the nature reserve:
- The Mount Aggie site comprises a carpark, signs and a loop walking track.
- Mount Franklin comprises a short access road, toilets and carpark.
The ACT/NSW boundary of the reserve passes through Pryor's Hut and the Franklin Chalet ruin.
The area now covered by the reserve lies on the junction of the territories of the Ngunawal and Walgalu Aboriginal people. Occupation of the areas has been dated back at least 5000 years.
Recorded sites are generally small surface scatters of artefacts, but in adjacent areas stone arrangements, rockshelters and art sites have been found. Most of the recorded sites lie along spur and ridge-lines, while natural treeless areas such as Brumby Flats are also highly likely to contain sites. Camp sites are known to occur at Mount Franklin, Mount Ginnini and Mount Gingera in the neighbouring Namadgi National Park.
Pryor's Hut was built in the early 1950s as a shelter for workers at the Alpine Botanical Gardens, an arboretum of pine species as an annexe to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The hut was entered into the ACT Heritage Register as it "...reflects the shelter needs of people working in the exposed mountain conditions of the Brindabella Range. It remains the most intact built evidence of this activity."1
The Franklin Chalet was constructed in 1938 to service the Canberra Alpine Club and was tragically destroyed in the January 2003 bushfires. A new shelter designed and built by University of South Australia students was opened in 2008. The new building is first and foremost a shelter, but it is also an interpretive centre and, when necessary, it will provide park managers and emergency services personnel with a base to conduct search and rescue operations or act as a forward command post in the event of future bushfires.
Most plant species in Bimberi are of montane and sub-alpine types.
Woodlands of snow gum Eucalyptus pauciflora occur on the crest of the range above 1500 metres. These grade downslope into tall open forests of snow gum and, at approximately 1300 metres, into snow gum-mountain gum E. dalrympliana open forest communities. These are interspersed with alpine ash E. delegatensis in more sheltered aspects. At lower elevations along the Goodgradigbee River drier montane peppermint E. radiata forests occur.
Herbfields, grasslands and swamps occur on the higher peaks, gaps in the range and on broad open areas respectively. Mount Gingera has an example of alpine sphagnum and herbfields. The Brumby Flats area has sphagnum bog environment. Heaths occur on screes in the sub-alpine area. The rare alpine conifer Podocarpus lawrencei binds the scree and inhibits erosion. It may be found in areas above 1500 metres.
Fauna surveys have not been comprehensive within Bimberi, but scientific inventories in the adjacent Cotter catchment have recorded a number of species of particular interest including:
- the endangered Smoky mouse Pseudomys fumeus
- the northern corroboree frog Pseudophyrne pengilleyi
- the migratory Bogong moth Agrotis infusa which aestivates 2 in granite outcrops on Mount Ginger, and
- a sub-species of butterfly Oreixenica kershawiphryne which is endemic to the Brindabella Range.
For more information about Bimberi Nature Reserve:
- Telephone - 02 6229 7000
- Visit - NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change - Bimberi Nature Reserve web page
National Parks and regional visitor information offices
1 ACT Heritage Council, Entry to the ACT Heritage Register - 20098 Pryor's Hut NNP . Lyneham, ACT
2 Aestivate - To pass summer in a dormant or torpid state