Wilson Reserve

Wilson Reserve landscape

This 21.5 hectare reserve is located along the Yarra Valley floodplain. Its boundaries are defined by the Yarra River, The Boulevard, Chelsworth Park and the Ivanhoe Public Golf Course. The reserve is a diverse natural environment, including wetlands, native woodlands and aquatic vegetation. It is an important wildlife corridor on the Yarra River.

The reserve connects with the upper and lower reaches of the Yarra River. In Banyule, the Yarra River connects with the Plenty River to the north and Darebin Creek to the south. It is managed by the Banyule Bushland Management Unit.

Dogs and cats are prohibited from entering environmentally sensitive park and reserve areas as designated by signs. Dogs are permitted on the secondary provided they are under effective control by a chain, cord or leash.


The Yarra River was important to dreamtime myths and stories, with the surrounding billabongs, wetlands and river flats an important food source.

The area was almost entirely cleared for dairy farming and cropping in the mid-19th Century. In 1924, Christopher Bailey and HD Wilson started to buy land in the area. They devised a method where local residents could buy river frontage land in parcels. The swimming club, scouts and local residents decided to buy 7 acres by subscription. Riverfront land was offered at 2 shillings 6 pence a foot, and 300 pounds were raised to buy the land from Irvine in 1922. Once bought, the land was presented to Heidelberg Shire Council to be held in trust for the youth of Ivanhoe. The reserve became known as Wilson Reserve after “Skipper” Wilson, leader of the Sea Scouts in the early 1900s. Swimming and boating were popular pastimes up until the 1960s.

Flora and fauna

The reserve is in the Gippsland Plain bioregion, represented by the floodplain riparian woodland ecological vegetation community. 2 water bodies are in the creekline grassy woodland and floodplain wetland aggregate communities, both endangered. There are 9 ecological vegetation classes within Wilson Reserve.

The reserve also has a bio-site of regional significance: bio-site number 5063 includes Willsmere Lagoon, Bailey Billabong and Hays Paddock.

Over 121 species of native birds have been recorded in the reserve. 7 frog species have been recorded at the billabongs at Wilson Reserve, including the brown tree frog, striped marsh frog, common froglet, spotted marsh frog, eastern banjo frog, smooth froglet and the Peron's tree frog. 6 micro-bat species have been recorded, including Gould’s wattled bat, chocolate wattled bat, freetailed bat, Gould’s white-striped freetailed bat, large forest bat and the eastern broad-nosed bat.


Common name Scientific name

Australasian darter

Anhinga novaehollandiae

Brushtail possum

Trichosurus vulpecula

Common wombat

Vombatus ursinus

Eastern brown snake

Pseudonaja textilis

Eastern yellow robin

Eopsaltria australis

Gould's wattled bat

Chalinolobus gouldii

King parrot  Alisterus scapularis

Laughing kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

Powerful owl

Ninox strenua

Purple swamp hen

Porphyrio porphyrio

Rainbow lorikeet

Trichoglossus moluccanus

Sacred kingfisher

Todiramphus sanctus

Short-beaked echidna

Tachyglossus aculeatus

Nankeen night heron

Nycticorax caledonicus

Sugar glider

Petaurus breviceps

Superb fairy wren

Malurus cyaneus

Swamp wallaby

Wallabia bicolor

Tawny frogmouth

Podargus strigoides


Scientific name Common name

Acacia melanoxylon


Acacia paradoxa

Kangaroo thorn

Acaena novae-zealandiae


Alisma platago-aquatica

Water plantain

Clematis microphylla

Small-leaved clematis

Coprosma quadrifida

Prickly currant bush

Dichondra repens

Kidney weed

Eucalyptus camaldulensis

River red gum

Goodenia ovata

Hop goodenia

Gynatrix pulchella

Hemp bush

Melaleuca ericifolia

Swamp paperbark

Melicytus dentatus

Tree violet

Pomaderris aspera

Hazel pomaderris

Prostanthera lasianthos

Victorian Christmas bush

Solanum aviculare

Kangaroo apple


78 The Boulevard, Ivanhoe 3079  View Map

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