Matthews Hill Grassland

Next to the railway line, this well looked after grassland slopes gently from the rocky crown of Matthews Hill down to the edge of Stony Creek. Diverse native herbs and shrubs are present. It also has very landscape architect designed, eye-catching sculptures, good signage and attractive entry.

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Owner: VicTrack
Manager: Brimbank City Council
Notes: Easy access through gates from the cycle path adjoining the playground and dog park puts you on a gravel path along the grassland edge. Informal walking trails will take you across the hilltop and around the southern edge of the reserve. Beware the nearby railway on the south side, as approaching the tracks may get you in trouble with VicTrack (who lease the site to Brimbank Council). In 1986 it was described as �...dominated by Themeda australis [triandra] and *Stipa [Nassella] neesiana� Control of *Stipa neesiana will be difficult, but is essential for the survival of significant grasslands nearby� Restoration will only be possible when *Stipa is removed from the stand.� (Keith McDougall, 1987). Nassella neesiana is the aggressively invasive exotic Chilean Needle-Grass. Botanical names aren�t the only thing that has changed: hard work by the site�s managers has turned the situation around. Only the far western end of the grassland and the out-of-bounds railway verge have significant Chilean Needle-Grass presence now, and the grassland is dominated by native species with large patches of recovered and re-introduced wildflower species among the native grasses. The wildflowers here are a real drawcard. In particular, numerous rice-flowers (Pimelea species) are present. While the endangered Pimelea spinescens has not been found on site, it is known to be nearby. The lower slope is occupied by many shrubs of both Pimelea glauca and Pimelea curviflora sporting brilliant clusters of white and yellow flowers respectively. The tall Clustered Everlasting daisy (Chrysocephalum semipapposum), uncommon in basalt grasslands, can be found just downhill from the Sugar Gums. The mat-forming herbs Slender Speedwell (Veronica gracilis) and Common Woodruff (Asperula conferta) have prominent patches lower down the hill. The endangered species Arching Flax-Lily (Dianella longifolia var. grandis) and Matted Flax-Lily D. amoena) are both present, with rumoured hybrids between them as well. Thick patches of the common Black-Anther Flax-Lily (D. revoluta) are found throughout the eastern part of the reserve. The large Sugar Gums in the centre, a South Australian species commonly planted on the basalt plains, create a ring of drier, shaded ground (with some seats to rest on beneath them). The sparse vegetation here hosts New Holland daisies (Vittadinia species), Spur Goodenia (Goodenia paradoxa), and the unusual Possum-Tails (Ptilotus spathulatus). The endangered Basalt Peppercress (Lepidium hyssopifolium) has also been planted here in the past, and given its long-lived seed, may reappear when conditions are right. Strange artifacts of the site�s past and present use litter the grassland. The modern kangaroo sculptures on the crest of the hill are most obvious, but older relics can also be found. Concrete tank structures are present lower down the hill, and near the western tip of the grassland, there is a deep pit now filled with weeds and rubble. At the bottom of the hill to the east, Stony Creek disappears into a culvert under rail tracks. If you peer through, you will see the historic bluestone bridge that supports the next set of rail tracks across.
Key features: ?����� Dianella amoena/Dianella longifolia hybrids ?����� Basalt Peppercress Lepidium hyssopifolium if you�re lucky
Access: Open to public
Status: Extant
Address: 1 Matthews St, Sunshine VIC 3020, Australia
Area (ha): 2.329327174
Lattidude (decimal): -37.79450016
Longitude (decimal): 144.8406429
Contributors: BC
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