About Barrm Birrm
'Barrm' means the 'root of the Yam Daisy' and 'Birrm' means 'many of'. This was a staple food of the Wurundjeri, the traditional custodians of this land.
Barrm Birrm sits in the hills above Riddells Creek township. Slopes lead up to Light Hill Ridge, which marks the beginning of the Roberston Range and then the Macedon Range. The woodlands comprise two ecological vegetation types, Heathy Dry Forest and Grassy Dry Forest. As with most of the Macedon Ranges, the land has been harvested for timber, mostly for firewood or charcoal burning. However, the techniques used were gentle on the land, and the area seems never, or only lightly, to have been grazed.
This has left an open forest largely absent of weeds, with a vast diversity of groundcover plants, 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 area is unfenced. Many tracks have been formed between the two principal roads of the original subdivision, causing significant erosion. There is increasing use by walkers from Riddells Creek and flora enthusiasts from all over the State.
In the early 1970s, Shone and Scholtz, owners of 120 hectares bordered by Royal Parade and Gap Road, used a subdivision plan from the 1890s to sell 162 lots. The then Romsey Council told purchasers that they would not be able to build, due to the highly erodible soils. History repeats: from time to time, blocks of land come up for sale using the 'street names' of Prince Alfred Street, Princess Street and Prince of Wales Terrace. Despite what real estate agents might say, this is not residential land, Council will not permit the development of any lot in this area under current planning controls, and no native vegetation can be removed.
Riddells Creek Landcare looks after this land. We clear up rubbish and clean out weeds (blackberry, gorse, bluebell creeper and exotic acacias), educate residents about this bushland and keep raising the question of Barrm Birrm's future. Council gates on roads through the area have slowed the damaging flow of 4WDs, but trail bikes are still carving tracks, old tracks are eroding, and new campsites are made from time to time, destroying more of the delicate grasslands. Lots change hands and new owners don’t quite know what they have got themselves into.
Let's start with some basics: no new tracks; no new fences.