Ferntree Gully Railway Reserve

Discovery of a local gem

The KES was first made aware of the importance of the FTG Rail Reserve when it was discovered by a couple of our members who had begun spending an afternoon a week weeding for a couple of hours.

Seeing the value in protecting the important vegetation within the site, we began the search to find out who to approach to ask about it and its ownership. We eventually narrowed it down to either Vic Track and Metro, with each saying it was the others land. Eventually with the help of Nick Wakeling who made some enquiries, we were able to contact someone who was able to help.

Metro does not deal with volunteer groups and so was passed us on to Keep Victoria Beautiful (KVB) who runs the Stationeers program. Metro then only deals with one organization (KVB) who interact with the separate volunteer groups.

The area did not fit the usual criteria for a KVB group, but after meeting the KVB representative they agreed to sponsor the area and the KES as the organization responsible for its care and maintenance. Metro has very tight restrictions on who and what work can be done on railway land so we were very fortunate indeed that the land is separated from the tracks by the bike track.

In 2017 we applied for and were granted a Biodiversity On Ground Action grant for a little over $10,000. This allowed for much of the early work to be done on the area. A management plan was drawn up, the fence along the bike track repaired and strengthened and weed control works began.

We have since then also received a couple of KVB grants of $750 each that have helped fund some of the revegetation work and the KES volunteers have had a number of weeding and planting working bees on site.

Future Plans

The vision for the site is that it will be a repository of plants that the KES have propagated from sources along the railway line from Upper Ferntree Gully through to Heathmont.

The site is one of Graeme Lorimers Sites of Biological Significance. The site has State Significant Valley Heathy Forest EVC and lies within the Gippsland Plains bioregion. The are 4 main zones on the site with are plantings taking place mainly in Zone 4 and 3 as they contain large amounts of weed and are most in need of revegetation. Zone 4 also has a lot of building disturbance, from when they built the flats, poor soil conditions and because of this difficult conditions for plant establishment and growth. Zone 4 has seen the plantings trying to increase the tree cover for more protection and the inclusion of wildflowers.