Woodlands Historic Park
Weeroona Cemetery and Conservation Zone

Weeroona is the area labelled B on this clickable satellite photo. Go To Map of Whole Park.
map legend Satellite Image of Weeroona Cemetery
back Paddock Greenvale Sanatorium Site Greenvale Sanatorium Land Sanatorium Dam Area Gellibrand Hill Woodlands Historic Park

When you enter the car park from Providence Road, Weeroona cemetery is on the left. The land to the right is known as the Weeroona conservation zone, and is not part of Woodlands Historic Park despite the sign implying it is. A gravel road separates the cemetery from the conservation zone and gives access for authorized vehicles to the cemetery and walkers to the Park.

The fence separating Weeroona from the Sanatorium Dam area of the park (area 5 on the map) was reinstated in August 2016 due to horses and trail bikes entering area 5 via Weeroona. Since the horses and trail bikes came from the park itself, a new gate has since been installed at the park end of the Weeroona access road.

Brief History

The area was part of the Greenvale Sanatorium reserve until 1992. At that time the 9.4 ha eastern portion (Crown Allotment 7B, Section 1, Parish of Yuroke) was gazetted (page 3900) as an Aboriginal Cemetery. At the same time the 12.44 ha western portion (Allotment 7A) was reserved as a buffer zone. It was rezoned conservation A, "to be retained in its natural state to compliment the adjoining Gellibrand Hill National Park" (gazette page 2886). It is currently zoned "Public Conservation And Resource" under the Hume Planning Scheme, the same zoning as Woodlands Historic Park. The road separating the two parts was originally constructed to give access to the Parks Victoria car park just outside the entrance to the back paddock. The car park was later moved out to Providence Road to reduce the workload on Park staff.

The Committee of Management for both the cemetery and the conservation zone is Weeroona Incorporated.

The Conservation Zone

Bulbine Lilies in the Weeroona Conservation Zone
Bulbine Lilies in Weeroona Cemetery Conservation Zone

The conservation zone is a very pleasant Red Gum and Grey Box woodland with significant areas of native grass, mainly Weeping Grass. There are however large amounts of weedy annual grass and areas of Chilean Needle Grass. The diversity is lower than some other parts of the Sanatorium Land, but Bulbine Lilies, Chocolate Lilies and a Geranium species are very common in places. (Another Geranium species is common in the area closest to Providence Road but this one is a weed, known as Cut-leaf Crane's-bill.)

Further south the vegetation could be more accurately described as Grey Box open forest, with an under-story of Golden Wattle and a moderate density of Grey Box saplings. On the ground under the denser Grey Box there are mainly annual weeds but some native species persist, including numerous patches of Common Rice Flower and also the succulent annual Pink Purslane, which has never been recorded in Woodlands Historic Park although it almost certainly did occur. Shrubs include Fragrant Salt-bush which is rare but multiplying. The condition is clearly better than that of the Grey Box forest in the Back Paddock.

A patch of Common Rice Flower in the Weeroona Conservation Zone
A patch of Common Rice Flower in Weeroona Cemetery Conservation Zone
Dead Red Gum with Grey Box Saplings
Dead Red Gum with Grey Box Saplings in Weeroona Cemetery Conservation Zone

In the southern part of the conservation zone there are still some Red Gums and a couple of Manna Gums along the drainage line, but there are also three Red Gums which have died, one recently, and one of the Manna Gums has also died recently. There are only a few saplings of these species, which might indicate that Grey Box is becoming more dominant. Also near the drainage line there is a large patch of Common Tussock Grass and several patches of Purple or Cane Wire Grass. Both of these are fairly uncommon in Woodlands Historic Park.

Of the weeds in the conservation zone, the hardest to control is Chilean Needle Grass. Apart from the dispersed patches mentioned above there is a large area near Providence Road and it has already spread all the way down the drainage line into the park with gradually decreasing density. Unless there is some progress in biological control it will probably be the main grass in the whole of the conservation zone within a few decades.

Other major weeds in the conservation zone are Sugar Gum, Early Black Wattle and Large-flowered Wood-sorrel. Soursob is another significant weed spreading from Providence Road. Blackberry and Serrated Tussock have been controlled over a number of years by a volunteer from Friends of Woodlands Historic Park.

One of two disused power-lines into the Hospital site shows up clearly on the satellite photo as the east-west cleared line. In 2008 Jemena removed all vegetation within about 15m each side of the line, presumably to reduce the cost of regular pruning (although it would have been even cheaper just to disconnect the line). They then replanted the area with shrubs. These include Austral Indigo, which has since died out. It has not been recorded in the park but is on the list of species likely to have occurred there. The power-line was removed in 2013 or 2014. A water pipe to the Sanatorium passes under the cemetery and the conservation zone and is still functional.

The head of the first Erosion gully in Weeroona Conservation Zone, Dec. 13th 2018
The head of the first Erosion gully in Weeroona Cemetery Conservation Zone

The conservation zone gets a lot of water runnoff from Providence Road, Section Road and the hard surfaces in Greenvale Reserve. After a thunderstorm water will flow down the valley for a few hundred meters before it soaks in, but with sustained rainfall it will flow all the way down the valley. There is an erosion gully near the road and another one half way down, both obviously man-made. They are small compared to the massive gullies in the Back Paddock.