The Don Morris Walk
This project aims to document The Don Morris Walk at the University. In the first instance, content will be presented here, but later a promotional pamphlet may be produced.
The project is being driven by Kevin McDonald, who can be reached via his email address
The walk can be roughly divided into six zones as follows:
Dry Open Forest
This tract is described as dry sclerophyll forest. This forest type is common on the east coast of Australia. Most of the trees are various species of the genus Eucalyptus.
The protection of pockets of remnant bushland is essential for biodiversity to be sustained in the urban environment.
Plant species represented in this area include:
Grey Ironbark (Eucalyptus paniculata), Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata), Flax Lily (Dianella caerulea), Downy Pea Shrub (Pultenaea villosa), Hop Bush (Dodonaea triquetra ).
Red Ash Gully
This section of reserve is representative of the plant species which naturally occur in gullies in this area.
The sustainability of this habitat depends upon the effective management of upstream nutrients, stormwater and human impact.
Species in the gully area include:
Red Ash (Alphitonia excelsa), Native Hibiscus / Native Rosella (Hibiscus heterophyllus), Grey Myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia), Prickly-leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca styphelioides), Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera ).
The Wetlands Project commenced in 1988 with a National Estate Grant. A degraded former lowlands and orchard underwent major changes in the creation of this wetland.
A series of small interlocking ponds was formed by dredging the existing lowlands and with the excavated mud, islands were created.
Since the initial earthworks University staff and community groups have worked consistently to remove introduced vegetation from the area and plant native species.
In the shallows and on the submerged islands of the wetlands the following species are represented:
Tall Spike-Rush (Elaeocharis sphacelata), Giant Water Lily (Nymphaea sp.), Swamp Water Fern (Blechnum indicum), Bull-Rush (Typha orientalis), Native Reed / Thatch Reed (Phragmites australis ).
Many bird species make the wetlands a stop during migration or a permanent home. The wetlands vegetation offers food and shelter for bird life.
Bird species which are only seen at particular times of the year include: the Silvereye, Dollarbird, Koel and the Channel-billed Cuckoo. These species migrate South in Summer and North in Winter.
Listed are some birds which can be observed in the wetlands:
Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), Great Egret (Ardea alba), Australian Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus), Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa), Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos ).
The creek areas provide cool, moist shaded conditions which support components of wet sclerophyll and rainforest species. There are approximately 20 different rainforest species along the creek bed.
Bird life proliferates in this area with many species foraging in the dense vegetation along the creek. Examples of bird species in the area include: Grey Fantail, Red-browed Firetail Finch, White-browed Scrub Wren, Pied Currawong, Silvereye.
Examples of plant species found in the creek area include: Hard Quandong (Eleocarpus obovatus), Sandpaper Fig (Ficus coronata), Native Guava (Rhodomyrtus psidioides), Scrub/Brush Turpentine (Rhodamnia rubescens), Veiny Wilkiea (Wilkiea huegeliana ).
Wet Semi-closed Forest
Wet sclerophyll forest conditions continue along the creek. Botanists consider these areas remnant of plant communities which flourished in times of greater rainfall and cooler conditions in Eastern Australia.
Passing from this you will encounter the open sclerophyll forest and native grasslands which are generally experienced on the campus. The Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) is a marker plant species and is often associated with Grey Ironbarks (Eucalyptus paniculata) and Small-fruited Grey Gums (Eucalyptus propinqua ).
Species found in the vicinity of the creek include: Prickly-leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca styphelioides), Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), Swamp She-Oak (Casuarina glauca), Lawyer Vine (Smilax australis), Traveller’s Joy (Clematis glycinoides ).