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Bushcare at Shady Grove

Shady Grove Bushland

The Shady Grove bushland consists of four acres of Stringybark forest with a highly diverse understorey, located between Hahndorf and Littlehampton in the Adelaide Hills. Shady Grove is the traditional land of the Peramangk people and was given to the Unitarian Church in the mid-19th century by the first white settlers. For more on the history of Shady Grove please see our Shady Grove page.

This treasured island of virgin scrub is of high ecological significance and contains valuable native orchids and many other wildflowers. Over the past two decades a dedicated team of bushcare workers have met regularly to preserve and maintain this land. This has been achieved through an intensive weeding program aimed at protecting and increasing biological diversity into the future.

Volunteering for Bushcare

We would love to welcome you to our Bushcare team! It’s a great way to get out in nature, get a bit of exercise, and do something useful for conservation. We generally meet fortnightly and work for about 4 hours, weather permitting, but any amount of help is welcome. Please contact us.

Conservation Significance and Management

This bushland consists over 148 native plant species, including ten species of Conservation Significance and a large number of orchid species (approx. 23). Although some of the land has been cleared for building the chapel, hostel, cemetery, and a former tennis court, the remainder has never been cleared, ploughed or super-phosphated. Over 70% of the bushland is now considered to be weed-free.

Since 2003, our Bushcare Team has been removing weeds at Shady Grove and has managed to control several major weeds, in particular, Monadenia, gorse, broom, and blackberry. The major weeds remaining are Wood-sorrel and freesia, which have both spread to the bush from the Cemetery. The Cemetery is now also being managed for native vegetation.

In recent years, the Church has received multiple small grants from local agencies to support their work, which has allowed the Church to employ a skilled Bushcare Supervisor. However, volunteers conduct most of the work. The Bush care Team was also recognised by the Mount Barker Council with an Environmental Award in 2013. A recent community event brought Shady Grove neighbours and volunteers together, resulting to our Team being recognised as Local Landcare Legends

Environmental Burn

In March 2020, DEW & CFS conducted an environmental burn of about ¼ of the property. Recovery has been good, with new plant species being found, along with hundreds of young Eucaplytus and Acacia, Xanthorrhoea semiplana flowering, and swathes of native lilies and grasses flowering.

Native Fauna

Shady Grove supports many species of native animals. Over 40 bird species have been observed, including Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Spotted Pardalote, Mistletoebird, and Varied Sitella. Other native animals recorded include Echidna, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Ringtail Possum, Four-spotted Cup Moth, Bearded Dragon, Brown Snake, and Banjo Frog.

Photograph: B. Birch