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Barrm Birrm Protection

Barrm Birrm is the side of the hill visible from, and overlooking, Riddells Creek (pictured on home page). It is the backbone of Riddells Creek and the main reason why people move to Riddells Creek. Parts of Barrm Birrm have previously been known as the Riddell Ranges Estate and the Shone & Scholz Land. Riddells Creek Landcare is a community group set up to help conserve this land which is arguably the most intact flora and fauna area in the Macedon Range and the most intact flora and fauna area this close to Melbourne.

The boundaries of Barrm Birrm are approximately the undulating Light Hill Ridge to the west, Gap Road and farmland to the north and north-west, Gap Road and Royal Parade to the east, and Wheelrights Road to the south. It covers about 250 hectares including an accessible area with 15km of walking tracks. The Shone & Scholz Land is 120 hectares.

In the 1970s Shone & Scholz sold the land with the promise that new owners would be allowed to build on the blocks but this was despite the fact that Council informed all concerned that the sites were in a conservation zone and no blocks could be developed. Ther has been no change since then. Today, history repeats itself, and from time to time, blocks of land come up for sale on the land using the 'street names' of Prince Alfred Street, Princess Street and Prince of Wales Terrace. Despite what Real Estate Agents might say, these blocks of land are not residential, Council will not permit the development of any lot in this area under current planning controls, and being a conservation zone means no trees can be removed from the land. The history of Barrm Birrm is very complex and more information is given here.

'Barrm' means the 'root of the Yam Daisy' and 'Birrm' means 'many of', referring to the abundance of Yam Daisies on the land, the roots of which were a staple food of the Wurundjeri (the traditional custodians of Barrm Birrm). It is now rare to see these plants in large numbers.

As with most of the Macedon Range, the land has a history of commercial activity. However, the work was relatively gentle on the land resulting in little soil disturbance. Additionally, the area seems never to have been grazed. This gives us the woodland we see today, an open forest largely without weeds, with a spectacular diversity of wildflowers in the grassy understory.

Barrm Birrm has an underlying geology of metamorphosed sandstone with yellow duplex soils. The area has been classified as comprising two ecological vegetation classes (EVCs), namely Heathy Dry Forest and Grassy Dry Forest. However, these EVCs do not accurately reflect the complex nature of the land. It comprises Low Heathy Woodland (NW high slopes); taller, damp shady forest (SW high slopes); drier, grassy woodland (on and around the many east-running spurs); damper, grassy woodland (around the valley/depressions between the spurs); and gentle slopes akin to the nearby Volcanic Plain Grasslands (around the cemetery).

Background documents relating to Barrm Birrm are listed on the history of Barrm Birrm page.

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Subpages (1): Barrm Birrm History
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