Wilson Reserve, 21.5 hectares in size, is located in Ivanhoe East along the Yarra Valley floodplain, 10 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD. The reserve’s boundaries are defined by the Yarra River, The Boulevard, Chelsworth Park and the Ivanhoe Public Golf Course. Wilson Reserve represents a diverse natural environment including wetlands, native woodlands and riparian vegetation which acts as an important biological corridor on the Yarra River.
Wilson 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 of Wilson Reserve.
This reserve is managed by the Banyule Bushland Management Department with assistance from local volunteers. If you are interested in helping out with the management of this reserve, you can join the Friends of Wilson Reserve.
Dogs and cats are restricted from all parts of this reserve.
The Yarra River was important to dreamtime myths and stories, with the surrounding billabongs, wetlands and river flats an important food source.
The area which is now Wilson Reserve was almost entirely cleared for dairy farming and cropping in the mid nineteenth century. In 1924, Mr Christopher Bailey, Mr Eisman and Mr 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. River frontage land was offered at 2 shillings 6 pence a foot and 300 pounds was raised to buy the land from Mr Irvine in 1922. Once the land was bought it 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.
Banyule Council acknowledges the Wurundjeri–willam people, the traditional custodians of Banyule.
Flora and Fauna
Wilson Reserve lies within the Gippsland Plain Bioregion. The majority of Wilson Reserve is represented by the Floodplain Riparian Woodland Ecological Vegetation Community, while two water bodies are assigned as Creekline Grassy Woodland and Floodplain Wetland Aggregate which are classified as endangered communities. There are nine ecological vegetation classes within Wilson Reserve.
The Reserve also has a bio-site of regional significance – bio-site number 5063, which includes Willsmere Lagoon, Bailey Billabong and Hays Paddock.
Over 121 species of native birds have been recorded in the reserve. Seven 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 Perons Tree Frog. Six micro-bat species have been recorded: Gould’s Wattled Bat, Chocolate Wattled Bat, Freetailed Bat, Gould’s White-striped Freetailed Bat, Large Forest Bat, and the Eastern Broad-nosed Bat.
Melway reference: Map 31 F10. Access via The Boulevard or Irvine Road, Ivanhoe.