In the south of Parramatta, right at the heart of a bustling urban landscape, there exists one of Parramatta’s most beautiful hidden bushland treasures.

Duck River Bushland is located along Wellington Road in Granville, and has a rich diversity of animal and plant life,including the threatened Acacia pubescens.

Much of the conservation efforts of this Reserve can largely be attributed to the hard work and enthusiasm of the long term Bushcare Group -Friends of Duck River. This dedicated Bushcare Group has been going strong for about 20 years, with no signs of slowing down.

It was started by local residents and headed by the late Tony Price, who was a remarkable volunteer. Laurie Gordon was one of Tony Price’s oldest friends, and remembers Tony as being the group’s fearless leader.“I knew him well over 40 years,” Laurie says. “He created what is now known as the ‘Price List’, which is a list of indigenous plants found here and in Rookwood Cemetery and a few other small patches around the Auburn area. He would take plant samples from the Reserve (with permission), and keep them at his house as a herbarium. His house used to be full of samples. His backyard was planted with samples.He would plant various species of Eucalypts in different conditions to see what the impacts were on their growth cycle. The ‘Price List’ is still used as a basis as for what is growing here. Horticultural students still come here and use the List as part of their studies.
The Friends of Duck River Bushland Reserve in 2013

About four years after the formation of the group, Kathy Mealing joined the team. In the early years,the group worked along the southern end of the reserve to close unofficial bike paths, illegal bike jumps and unused walking tracks. “We wanted the bushland within this area to have a chance to naturally regenerate,”Kathy remembers. “We also worked along the water’s edge of Duck River at one stage to remove the vines from the bank. However, this area of the Reserve eventually became too dangerous for us to work as the bank was quite steep. So we moved to the area that we work today.”

The group now work at the northern end of the Reserve, gradually reclaiming areas back from the mowers. “Our focus is to protect the mature trees in the Reserve, and the large patches of native grasses,” Kathy says. “We have been very busy working within this section of the Reserve, as there is a lot more maintenance work in this area than the previous areas.”

The group have been lucky to spot some native fauna over the years,with a resident bearded dragon often seen sunning itself around the Bushcare Site during workdays, and a group of pardalotes recently spotted in a nearby shrub. “We have also been told that the Reserve is home to numerous Cumberland Plain Land Snails (threatened species), which we have yet to sight ourselves, but we know it is here because of the recent flora and fauna survey organised by Council,” Kathy says.

So what is the secret behind the long-term success of the group? Kathy explains why she remained active with Council’s Bushcare Program over all these years. “I personally like volunteering for Bushcare as I enjoy being out in the bush,” she says. “Iti s so wonderful to see this type of bushland in such a built up area of Sydney. I have also learnt a lot about our native vegetation, which I really enjoy.
Download group KML