Place Details

Send Feedback

Anglesea Heath / Bald Hills Area, Anglesea, VIC, Australia

Photographs View Photo Database Record
List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Natural
Legal Status Registered (30/06/1992)
Place ID 16617
Place File No 2/01/061/0013
Statement of Significance
The Anglesea Heath/Bald Hills area is of biogeographical significance, containing sixteen plant species with disjunct distribution and seven species at the edge of their range. The area has strong phytogeographic similarities with the Grampians approximately 200km north west. Six plant species that occur here are disjunct populations of species otherwise restricted to the Grampians. The area is significant in preserving the plant gene pools due to the large number of rare, restricted or depleted plant species.
The area contains a high diversity of vegetation types including riparian forest, damp open forest, heathy open forest, heathy woodland, two distinctive heath communities and closed shrubland. The area has very high plant species richness with approximately 500 species recorded in the area. The heaths contain the richest flora recorded anywhere in Victoria. Small scale plant diversity is very high with 162 species per hectare recorded. This is a very high diversity internationally and is only exceeded outside rainforests by heaths in south west Western Australia and the Cape Province of South Africa. The area has a very high diversity of orchids with seventy-nine species, including eight hybrid species, being present.
The area contains plant communities which are rare or uncommon in Victoria. These include:
Bald Hills heath which represents the only remaining coastal dry heath in western Victoria;
closed shrubland dominated by scented paperbark (MELALEUCA SQUARROSA), which is now rare in western Victoria;
a rare example of open heathland on steeply dissected topography.
The area contains nine plant species considered rare or vulnerable in Victoria including five orchid species. A recently described rare eucalypt species, E. ALATICAULIS, occurs in the area. This species is restricted to this location and isolated populations in the Grampians. A vulnerable endemic species, GREVILLEA INFECTUNDA (2vc(i)), is restricted to the area.
The area contains representative examples of heathy open forest and heathy woodland. These vegetation types are now largely cleared in Victoria. It also contains a good example of a western occurrence of closed shrubland. The Bald Hills and Urquhart Bluff heathlands are the only examples of heathlands of this type in western Victoria.
Because of the high diversity and richness of plants in the area, an exceptional wildflower display is produced in Spring. The occurrence of low treeless heathland on the steep rolling topography of Bald Hills is a spectacular landscape found no where else in Victoria.
The area supports a rich small mammal fauna. Rare animals found here include the New Holland mouse (PSEUDOMYS NOVAEHOLLANDIAE), white footed dunnart (SMINTHOPSIS LEUCOPUS), swamp antechinus (ANTECHINUS MINIMUS), powerful owl (NINOX STRENUA) and the rufus bristlebird (DASYYORNIS BROADBENTI). The Angelesea River is the habitat of the rare spotted galaxis. A relictual population of the mountain dragon (AMPHIBOLURUS DIEMENSIS) is found in the area. This is the only lowland occurrence of this species which is now restricted to the highland region.
The area is used extensively for botanical research and teaching particularly in the fields of plant taxonomy and ecology. It has also been used by researchers studying the regeneration of plant species and the changes in animal populations after fire events.
Official Values Not Available
The heath area lies in the rain shadow of the Otway Ranges. The Bald Hills land system dominates the area. This system consists of deeply dissected Palaeocene sediments with weakly structured gradational soils and sandy soils of uniform structure. This land system occurs only in the Anglesea region, mainly in this area.

The vegetation of the area falls into two broad categories: heathy communities (five types) and forest communities (three types). These communities are:

1) Riparian open forest; this community occurs along stream sides in deep narrow well shaded valleys in the headwaters of major streams. It is characterised by several species of ferns. This community adds approximately ten percent to the total species richness of the area.

2) Riparian open forest in open situations; this type of forest is found on river flats and along stream sides in broader, more open valleys and lacks the ferns found in deep narrow gullies. This community has a well developed layer of small herbaceous species which are absent from other communities found in the area. This community contributes approximately ten percent to the total species richness of the area.

3) Heathy open forest; this community occurs on the least fertile sandy soils. Soil moisture availability appears to be the most important factor in determining its distribution. It is dominated by EUCALYPTUS OBLIQUA and/or EUCALYPTUS BAXTERI. EUCALYPTUS ALATICAULIS occurs along steep slopes with other eucalypts sometimes replacing or intermixing with the two stringybark including EUCALYPTUS ARAMAPHLOIA and EUCALYPTUS VIMINALIS. The understorey is often dominated by GAHNIA RADULA associated with a moderately diverse array of heathy species. Generally, species richness is higher than in the forest communities but lower than other heathy communities.

4) Heathy woodland; this community occurs on deep infertile soils and is the most widespread community in the area. It is the richest and most botanically significant vegetation type. Dominant eucalypts are similar to heathy open forest with EUCALYPTUS WILLISII often the dominant tree. The understorey is very rich in species and while basically uniform at the community level, is highly variable on the small scale level. This community is the richest and most diverse vegetation community recorded in Victoria with 162 species recorded in a hectare, it is also the richest in orchids and one of the most orchid rich communities in Australia. Similar heathy woodlands occur elsewhere only in the Grampians.

5) Bald Hills heathland; this is the second most abundant vegetation community in the area and like the heathy open forest of botanical significance. It is a diverse open heathland of low shrubs, with occurrences of low stunted E. WILLISSII. Bald Hills heathland occurs on the most infertile sands which have hardpan formed at shallow depth causing waterlogging in the wet and extreme aridity in the dry. This community is species rich and represents the only remaining coastal dry heathland in western Victoria.

6) Urquhart Bluff heathland; this heathland type occurs between Anglesea township and Urquhart Bluff. The vegetation is strongly affected by salt spray and wind pruning.

7) Closed shrubland; this community is essentially a tall, swampy heathland which occurs on permanently waterlogged sandy peat soils. It is usually dominated by MELALEUCA SQUARROSA with a variety of sedges. Species richness is low but a number of rare and restricted species are restricted to this community. The area contains a large number of rare and significant plant species. This is a reflection of both the richness and diversity of the area together with the fact that several vegetation communities found here have largely been cleared over much of their range (heathy woodland and closed shrubland) or are naturally restricted to the area (Bald Hills and Urquart Bluff heathlands). These communities are clearly the most important for rare plants with four species restricted to closed shrubland. The majority of rare orchid species are found in heathy woodland.
History Not Available
Condition and Integrity
Most of the vegetation of the area is in excellent condition, despite the large number of uses to which the area has been put. A number of small localised areas of degradation occur but the extremely low nutrient status of the soil has prevented widespread clearing or significant grazing. The area has been regularly burnt (last in 1983) but the vegetation is fire resilient and the fires not so frequent as to be damaging. Pines were planted in some areas in the 1930s but grew poorly. Most have died or been killed by fire but some remain, apparently with little ill effect on the heathy vegetation. Die-back occurs in some parts of the area. Coal is mined outside the area.
Approximately 7,500ha, near Anglesea, comprising the area bounded by a line commencing at the intersection of Forest Road and AMG northing 574845mN (approximate AMG point 55924845), 3km north-east of Anglesea, then proceeding northerly via the western side of Forest Road to the alignment of the eastern boundary of the public land bordering that road on its north as depicted in Map 1 of the Melbourne Area District 1 - Review, Land Conservation Council Victoria, 1987 (being approximate AMG point: 7721-Geelong- 54875036); then proceeding northerly and westerly via the boundaries of the public land as depicted on that map to the north-west corner of Alcoa Anglesea Lease Area (AMG point: 47155400); then southerly via the western boundary of that Lease to Gum Road; then westerly via the southern side of that road to a road intersection at AMG point: 45364875; then proceeding southerly via tracks depicted on the LCC map referred to above (being essentially a water catchment boundary) and via the shortest route to the crest of a ridge at AMG point: 460472; then directly to a hilltop at AMG point: 451459; then southerly via the ridgeline to a road at approximate AMG point: 44854475; then easterly via the northern side of that road to its intersection with a track at AMG point: 46134436; then south-easterly via that track to AMG easting: 247500mE (AMG point: 47504387); then south easterly via the ridgeline separating Hutt Gully and Distillery Creek catchments to a hilltop at AMG point: 49504285; then directly to the mouth of a creek at AMG point: 50254218; then easterly via Low Water Mark to the western alignment of O'Donohue Road (AMG easting: 252700mE); then northerly via that alignment to Harvey Road; then westerly via the southern side of that road and the track that is an extension of it to Mount Ingoldsby, then south-westerly via the southern side of a track to AMG easting: 251400mE and approximate northing: 5744200mN, then directly to a stream at approximate AMG point: 51204423, then downstream via the middle thread of that stream to a road at approximate AMG point: 50594537, then westerly via the southern side of that road to another at AMG point: 50214560, then north-easterly via the western side of that road to the western boundary of the area marked D3 on the LCC map described above (AMG point: 50724610); then north-easterly via the boundary of area D3 to the western boundary of the excision from the Anglesea Lease Area surrounding Alcoa Power Station (AMG point: 53424710); then northerly via the boundary of that excision, but deviating to exclude the area D3 on its eastern side, to the road to the power station; then north-easterly via the northern side of that road to AMG easting: 254900mE, then directly to the commencement point.
Angair 1987 'Newsletter of Angair Inc' September 1987.
Frood D. 1985 'The Vegetation of The Melbourne Area, District 1', Unpub. Report To The Land Conservation Council, Melbourne.
Land Conservation Council 1985 'Melbourne Area District 1 - Review', Melbourne.
Land Conservation Council 1987 'Melbourne Area District 1 - Final Recommendations', Melbourne
Meredith C. 1986 'The Vegetation of The Anglesea Lease Area' Submission To The Land Conservation Council, Melbourne
Wark M.C., White M.D., Robertson D.J.& Marriot P.F. 1987. Regeneration of Heath and Heath Woodland In The North-Eastern Otway Ranges Following The Wildfire of February 1983, 'Proc Roy. Soc. Vict Vol 99 No2:51-88.
Watson R.J., Ladiges Y.& Griffin A.R. 1987 Variation in Eucalyptus Cypellocarpa L. Johnson In Victoria and A New Taxon From The Grampian Ranges and Anglesea 'Brunonia' 1987 10: 159-76.
Wilson B.A. & Moloney D.J. 1985 Small Mammals In The Anglesea-Airey's Inlet Area of Southern Victoria - A Post Fire Study 'Vic. Nat.' 102: 65-70.
Wilson, Dr B.A., 1993. 'Management & Conservation of Habitat For The New Holland Mouse In Victoria'. An National Estate Grants Program Report.
Wilson, Dr B A; Lewis, Dr A; Aberton, Dr J. (1997). Conservation of National Estate
communities threatened by cinnamon fungus at Anglesea, Victoria. NEGP Report.

Report Produced  Thu Apr 24 14:45:03 2014