Project: Moorabool Manna Gums for Koalas

koala tree planting site moorabool


“Restoring a Manna Gum forest koala habitat on the fertile lower reaches of the Moorabool River, close to a resident koala population, far from roads, and managed by sympathetic landowners with a proven track-record for biodiversity management.”

Janine Duffy, President Koala Clancy Foundation

Location: Moorabool River, Lethbridge

Status: 2023 planting complete, 3618 trees planted on 3 & 4 June 2023.

Total project cost: AUD $35,000-$40,000 in year 1

Seeking funding for: This project has been fully funded by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). IFAW have been supportive partners of our koala tree planting projects for several years. We are thrilled to have completed year one of this large and important project.

Number of trees/shrubs: target was 3,500 in year 1. We exceeded that by 118 trees.

Size of planting site: 4.47ha


koala tree planting project victoria
Part of the planting site on the fertile slopes of the Moorabool River


The clear Moorabool River runs along the west side of the Brisbane Ranges, through historically some of the best ‘koala country’ in Victoria. Giant River Red Gums line the river, with Manna Gums and endangered Melbourne Yellow Gums on the slopes. But sadly much of the best koala country on the lower reaches of the Moorabool was cleared for farming many years ago. Koalas still persist in the Brisbane Ranges but their numbers have been in decline for decades – likely due to climate change effects on their eucalyptus foliage.

This project will restore highly-preferred Manna Gums on a slope so fertile that it was cleared and grazed by livestock for many years. Every other slope of similar aspect has been completely cleared along the lower reaches of the Moorabool River. Koalas urgently need forests on fertile agricultural soils, they need them adjacent to existing koala populations, and they need them near rivers and far from roads. This site qualifies on all these conditions.

male koala in Manna Gum
Healthy male koala in a Manna Gum in the Brisbane Ranges nearby

What & who will benefit?

The property is large – 459 hectares – and already managed for biodiversity by the sympathetic owners. Nearly half of the property is forested in ancient remnant Melbourne Yellow Gum Eucalyptus leucoxylon connata woodland. The owners have taken to decision to never let their livestock graze the Yellow Gum forest area to preserve the old trees and encourage natural grassy understory.

The property protects a huge area of remnant Melbourne Yellow Gum trees.

The following 12 threatened species could benefit from this planting. These include birds, mammals, reptiles and insects that are…
Critically Endangered:
Swift Parrot and possibly Barking Owl & Black Falcon (both seen nearby)
Tussock Skink and possibly Speckled Warbler (seen nearby)
Koala*, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Diamond Firetail, Brown Treecreeper, Jacky Winter and likely Powerful Owl and Little Eagle.

diamond firetail
Diamond Firetails – now vulnerable, but have been sighted on the site.

We plant a wide diversity of species, genera and families of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, to create a flourishing ecosystem. We don’t plant only quick-growing trees for carbon capture – as these are rarely useful to koalas in the long term – and we don’t plant masses of overused, widespread species, like Kangaroo Thorn/Hedge Wattle Acacia paradoxa as these can be harmful to Diamond Firetails. Our plantings typically include 30 to 40+ species, carefully chosen to suit the site. We also plant an endangered tree species: Melbourne Yellow Gum Eucalyptus leucoxylon connata. We plant many of these, and are very careful to only plant this subspecies from local provenance seed in the area it naturally occurs.

The heritage-listed house and garden on this special property.

What’s exciting about this:

Rarely do we have the opportunity to restore a large block of Manna Gum woodland on fertile soils, close to a resident koala population, near a flowing river, and far from roads. This project could see koalas colonising within 4 years.

What species we will plant:

Silver Wattle Acacia dealbata
Late Black Wattle Acacia mearnsii
Blackwood Acacia melanoxylon
White Cypress-pine Callitris glaucophylla
River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis
Yellow Gum E. leucoxylon ssp connata
Yellow Box E. melliodora
Swamp Gum E. ovata
Manna Gum E. viminalis
Lightwood Acacia implexa
Wirilda Acacia retinoides
Drooping Sheoak Allocasuarina verticillata
Silver Banksia Banksia marginata
Sweet Bursaria Bursaria spinosa
River Bottlebrush Callistemon sieberi
Prickly Tea-tree Leptospermum continentale
Woolly Tea-tree Leptospermum lanigerum
Tree Violet Melicytus dentatus
Gold-dust Wattle Acacia acinacea
Prickly Moses Acacia verticillata
Golden Daisy (Lobe-seed daisy) Brachyscome dentata
Cut-leaf Daisy Brachyscome multifida
Lemon Beauty Heads Calocephalus citreus
Common Everlasting Chrysocephalum apiculatum
Clustered Everlasting Chrysocephalum semipapposum
Button Everlasting Coronidium scorpoides (Helichrysum)
Rock Correa Correa glauca
Black-anther Flax-lily Dianella revoluta
Showy Parrot-pea Dillwynia sericea
Nodding Saltbush Einadia nutans
Saloop Einadia hastata
Ruby Saltbush Enchylaena tomentosa
Blue Devil Eryngium ovinum
Hop Goodenia Goodenia ovata
Rosemary Grevillea Grevillea rosmarinifolia
Scaly Buttons Leptorhynchos squamatus
Spiny-head mat-rush Lomandra longifolia
Sticky Boobialla Myoporum viscosum
Twiggy Daisy-bush Olearia ramulosa
Tree Everlasting Ozothamnus ferrugineus
Grey Everlasting Ozothamnus obcordatus
Showy Podopelis Podolepis jaceoides
Fragrant Saltbush Rhagodia parabolica
Kangaroo Apple Solanum laciniatum
Woolly New Holland Daisy Vittadinia gracilis


Thankyou to our generous funding partner IFAW who is the exclusive donor for this whole project.

Opportunities are available to become involved with this project as a volunteer. Contact

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