Banyule Flats Reserve is in Viewbank, 14 km from the CBD via the Main Yarra Trail. The 46.47 hectare reserve is bordered by the Yarra River to the south and Banyule Road to the north, and connects to the Yarra Valley Parklands, managed by Parks Victoria, on its eastern boundary and Warringal Parklands on its western boundary. There are a number of walking tracks throughout the reserve. The Main Yarra Trail follows the outskirts of the Banyule Swamp and Silt Pond, with a number of smaller unofficial tracks leading off to Banyule Creek, stockyards, Banyule Swamp, and down to the Yarra River in the ‘back paddocks’.
Dogs and cats are restricted from some parts of the park.
Details about the reserve can also be found in Banyule Flats Reserve - A hidden treasure.
An illustrative map of Banyule Flats Reserve
In the past, the Wurundjeri tribe occupied the land around Banyule Swamp and the Yarra River, with artefact scatters and scar trees found not very far from the Reserve.
This land was one of the earliest rural allotments after being sold off in 1838. It was a part of the Woods Station, a large sheep farm comprising many hundreds of hectares straddling both sides of the Yarra River.
Much of the woodlands were cleared prior to settlement, with small mills dotting the countryside. Settlers bought the land as quickly as it was cleared, with the rich soils supporting agricultural and pastoral uses, including substantial market gardens, orchards and vineyards.
The remnant stockyards, which can be seen at the southern end of Plymouth Street, Heidelberg, were relocated piece by piece by Alan Baxter, who took over cattle farming from the Lyon family, from another area of Banyule Flats.
The swamp is largely fed by stormwater harvested from surrounding streets. It was drained in the early 19th century and had cattle grazing on it until the 1990s. The southern edge of the swamp was altered so that it could be refilled in 1999.
Banyule Council acknowledges the Wurundjeri-willam people, the traditional custodians of Banyule.
Flora and Fauna
There is a variety of remnant indigenous and exotic historic vegetation, swamps, billabongs and other wetlands, parklands and sporting facilities throughout the reserve. There are 10 ecological vegetation classes throughout the reserve, including Floodplain Riparian Woodland, Creekline Grassy Woodland, Aquatic Herbfield and Plains Grassy Woodland, with some classified as endangered vegetation areas.
Due to the constant water sources of both the Yarra River and the Banyule Swamp, bird life around the Banyule Flats Reserve is plentiful. A total of 153 bird species have been sighted within the reserve, with some species rare or threatened in Victoria, while others are significant migrants, such as the Latham’s Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii). Kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and wallabies have also been seen in the reserve. These values are managed by the Banyule Bushland Management Unit in conjunction with the Warringal Conservation Society.
Details about the significance of the reserve can be found in our Ecological and Conservation Values Assessment.
If you are interested in helping out with the management of this reserve, you can join the Warringal Conservation Society.
Melway reference: Map 32 F2, access via Plymouth Street, Scarborough Drive, Banyule Road, or Somerset Drive