Mount Gibraltar Heritage Reserve
Mount Gibraltar is an iconic landmark of special significance and is also the highest point between Sydney and Canberra. Mount Gibraltar Heritage Reserve encompasses a beautiful mountain area between Bowral and Mittagong. The forest forms part of Gundungurra Country.
State Heritage Listing
Mount Gibraltar Heritage Reserve was listed on the State Heritage Register by the NSW Heritage Council in December 2013 for both its Endangered Ecological Communities and for the Heritage Quarries Complex, which was the source of the stone known as Bowral trachyte used in historic buildings including for the columns at Sydney's Queen Victoria Building and the foundation stone at Australia's Parliament House in Canberra.
Image: Nodding Blue Lily Stypandra glauca illustration by A Hyman. Source: The Gib.
Mount Gibraltar Forest threatened ecological communities
There are three threatened ecological communities (TECs) found within the reserve. The Mount Gibraltar Forest covers the largest area within the reserve however Robertson Basalt Tall Open Forest and a small amount of Southern Highlands Shale Forest and Woodland also occurs, which reflects the geological diversity within the reserve.
The Mount Gibraltar Forest was originally listed as endangered in 2001. In 2016, the Mount Gibraltar Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion was listed as endangered under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. This TEC is closely associated with the rock type known as microsyenite (trachyte).
In November 2011, the Mount Gibraltar Forest was listed as a TEC through an amendment to the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The forest was described in the Act as an Uplands Basalt Eucalypt Forest (UBEF) Endangered Ecological Community of the Sydney Basin Bioregion.
Geology of Mount Gibraltar
A comprehensive description of the geology of Mount Gibraltar is found in The Gib (2007), a free e-book which is linked to from this webpage. Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that Mount Gibraltar is the core of an erupting volcano (Carr, P., 2007), but the result of an intrusion, uplift, and erosion over millennia.
Injection of a syenitic melt near the bottom of Hawkesbury Sandstone and overlying Wianamatta Shale created the pressure for this uplift. The microsyenite exposed today is a result of erosion exposing it over millions of years.
The Gib has an interesting mix of plant community types because of the presence of microsyenite, sandstone and shale.
Mount Gibraltar Landcare Bushcare
Image: Mount Gibraltar Landcare Bushcare volunteers in May 2023.
All equipment including safety gear including gloves is provided to Bushcare volunteers.
To take part in a working bee, you must wear boots, long pants, and long sleeves. You will need to be inducted at the beginning of your first working bee before you can start work.
Learn more about the Wingecarribee Bushcare Rivercare Group
The Gib: Mount Gibraltar Southern Highlands - "for all those who come after us"
Originally a hardcover book, The Gib(PDF, 14MB) was first published in 2007 by Mount Gibraltar Landcare and Bushcare under the auspices of Wingecarribee Shire Council.
The Gib was reprinted in 2009 supported by the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority.
The Gib was re-released under a Creative Commons licence as an e-book with updated appendices. The e-book is now free to be downloaded, shared, and used for derivative non-commercial purposes.
The book is an important document that describes the unique environment of Mount Gibraltar, its human history, its location within Gundungurra Country, and the dedicated volunteers who are still working today to maintain this area's natural environment and amenity.
According to its authors, The Gib: Mount Gibraltar Southern Highlands was shared freely "for all those who come after us".
Images: Nodding Blue Lily Stypandra glauca and Blue Flax Lily Dianella caerulea illustrations by A Hyman. Source: The Gib.
Download The Gib: Mount Gibraltar Southern Highlands
Historic quarries from 1886-1986
Six distinct quarry locations within what is now Mount Gibraltar Reserve were used consistently for the 100 years from 1886-1986 and reflect an important aspect of Bowral’s industrial history.
Trachyte stone quarried at Mount Gibraltar is known as 'Bowral trachyte' and provided stone for notable buildings in New South Wales, the ACT, and abroad.
Mount Gibraltar Heritage Quarries Complex, 2015.(PDF, 832KB)
Trachyte entrance wall
With support from Wingecarribee Shire Council, a Veolia Mulwaree Trust Community Grant, and funds raised by the sale of The Gib: Mount Gibraltar Southern Highlands, the Mount Gibraltar Landcare Bushcare group recently saw a long-held vision achieved with the construction of a commemorative trachyte entrance retaining wall at the Heritage Quarries Complex.
The wall marks the entrance to the Heritage Quarries Complex circuit walk, from which the unique microsyenite stone known as Bowral trachyte was quarried for 100 years to be used in many heritage buildings and monuments across the state.
Photo gallery: Heritage Quarries Complex
The Mount Gibraltar Reserve Fire Management Plan provides details of the fire management policies and strategies for the reserve and Council's statutory responsibilities.
It outlines the history and causes of fire in the reserve, along with the hazard levels and assets that require protection. The plan outlines the fire management objectives, fire management units and prescribed fire management regimes designed to protect the environmental, social and cultural values of the reserve and neighbouring properties.
The Gib's fire management plan will be updated following the completion of the new generation Wollondilly Wingecarribee Bushfire Risk Management Plan currently in development.
Oxley Drive, Mittagong 2575 View Map