Studley Park in Melbourne

Studley Park in Melbourne
















Studley Park in Melbourne

The Studley Park Boathouse, Kew is a historic area that is located at least 10 minutes away from the Melbourne city center. It is located on the Yarra River and with stunning natural bushland. It is considered to have the largest natural vegetation in the city of Melbourne.


It has varying landscape such as steep, wild river escarpments, formal parkland, playing fields, open woodlands, and golf courses (Beardsell, 1996). The area has more than 16 kilometers of river frontage , which provides the visitors with excellent views of he city and Dandenongs from higher locations. The park has relatively old rocks that are exposed, which include mudstones and marine sandstones aged more than 400million years ago. There is an excellent view of sediments at the cliff face in Dight falls, which show the folds and faults, the layering and ripple beds, which expose the ancient seabeds.

It is estimated that the lava flow that is present in the park is relative to volcanic activity, which took place an estimated 2.2million years and 800,000 years ago (Parks Victoria, 2000). These activities result in deposits of basalt soils in the park, to enable the emergence of extensive and diverse vegetation. There are five distinctive geographical formations along the Yarra River bend. These are Silurian sandstones, tertiary marine sandplain, quaternary volcanics, old quaternary high-level alluvium, and Newer Quaternary alluvium (silt/sand) (Walsh & Entwisle, 1999).


The area is estimated to provide support to highly diverse indigenous vegetation of about 294 plant species and sub-species as well as recognized varieties and a number of hybrids (Beardsell, 1996). The area is at the convergence of two geographic formations, the Gippsland Plain bioregions and the Victorian Volcanic Plain. The Gippsland Plain bioregion is present in the eastern side of the Yarra, whereas the Victorian Volcanic Plain is located west of the Yarra River. The landforms present in the park are relative to the vegetation communities present in the park and long the river.

  1. Alluvial Plain

This is manifested by the presence of lower plain slopes, stream terraces, and valleys. The landform is estimated to have a gradient of 5-20°. This consists if plains grassy woodland which extends between Studley Park and Galatea point (Beardsell, 1997a). This is also consists of a range of well-drained yellow and uniform organics or sandy-loam soils that are sourced from Quaternary alluvium in banks. In addition, there is also the presence of poorly drained black or grey cracking uniform clay in the terrace depressions that becomes water logged during the overly wet winter months. The banks of the river ate an estimated 1meter in elevation and in a majority of sections; they have experienced active erosion (Beardsell, 1996). Only a small section of the rock outcrop is visibly present. Another section of rocky rapids is present in the Dights Falls, whereas the upstream section of the river is deep and moving in a slow pace.

  1. Volcanic Plain

In the volcanic plain, the quaternary volcanic silt plain is occupied by poorly drained topsoil, which becomes waterlogged during the overly wet periods (Walsh & Entwisle, 1999). The landform presented is the leading occupant in the edge of Western Volcanic Plain in the northern section of the Merri creek. It is considered to be low lying with a gradient estimate of not more than 5° and poorly drained topsoil. The topsoil usually become waterlogged in the overly wet winter months. In addition the silt plain lacks stony crests whereas gilgais occurs in the stony plains in the Merri creek at the Craigieburn Grassland (Beardsell, 1996). The soils are evidently grey-black duplex with duplex that has surface loams which are brought about from the proximal volcanic and sedimentary sources in the area (Walsh & Entwisle, 1999). The soils in the swales are made up of black uniform clay soil.


The alluvial plain soils are yellow duplex marked by topsoil that is gray loam in medium depth. The soils in the low plain slopes as well as the valleys are primary colluvial whereas the soils in the stream terraces are largely alluvial in nature. In addition, the soils are located on impermeable claypans, which cause subsurface waterlogging during the wet winter months (Walsh & Entwisle, 1999). In addition, the sand plain consists of red and yellow duplex  which are formed from iron stained sand, gravel, clay and quartzite. Soils present within the park include a mixture of Silurian sandstones, tertiary marine sandplain, quaternary volcanics, old quaternary high-level alluvium, and Newer Quaternary alluvium (silt/sand).


The climate provides for warm, dry summers, cool, and wet winters (Beardsell, 1996). The rainfall is distributed in a uniform manner during the periods of autumn, winter, and spring whereas summer usually experiences low rainfall. January is usually the driest month with an estimated mean rainfall level of 40-50mm whereas October experiences the highest rainfall with a mean of between 75-85mm. the mean annual rainfall is estimated to be about 655mm. in the riverbanks, flats and the floodplain, the landforms present have gradients that do not exceed 5° (Beardsell, 1996). These areas provide support to young depositional soils from the Yarra floodplain. The area is composed of extensive areas of steep river escarpment and large open woodlands.



Beardsell, C.M. (1996). Vegetation community survey & sites of botanical significance. Yarra Valley Parklands: Burke Road to the Plenty River. Environmental Report Series No. 5. Parks Victoria.

Beardsell, C.M. (1996a). Vegetation community survey & sites of botanical significance. Yarra Valley Parklands: East of the Plenty River. Environmental Report Series No. 6. Parks Victoria.

Beardsell, C.M. (1997a). Plenty Gorge vegetation community survey & sites of botanical significance. Parks Victoria.

Parks Victoria. (2000). Yarra Bend Park. Environmental Action Plan. Parks Victoria Conservation Division, Deepdene, Victoria.

Walsh, N.G. and Entwisle, T.J. (1999). Flora of Victoria. Vols 2, 3 & 4. Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. National Herbarium of Victoria. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

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