Natural values and context

Lutregala Marsh is an outstanding example of a coastal salt marsh and saline grassland. The property adjoins the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve and Lutregala is listed on the register of the National Estate due to its rare natural values.

Slight changes in altitude and salinity provide conditions for numerous different vegetation communities, and this diversity, combined with very little human disturbance, makes the site a hotspot for birds - particularly raptors.

The concentration of raptors around the marsh during daylight hours suggest that it is important foraging habitat for a range of species, especially the swamp harrier. Swamp harriers breed within the saltmarsh habitat above the water line, with a pair confirmed to be nesting in October 2014. Other raptors likely to use the reserve for foraging include brown falcon and brown goshawk. Sea eagles have been recorded on the reserve and may use the black peppermint forest as a perch site when fishing over Simpsons Bay. The masked owl has also been recorded in the immediate vicinity and the black peppermint forest contains several trees with large hollows suitable for nesting.

Lutregala Marsh is known as an important site for invertebrates specialised for saline conditions. The diversity of conditions leads to a varied population of crustaceans and molluscs.

Managing Lutregala Marsh

Management efforts will focus on controlling weeds, such as sweet pittosporum and blackberry, which occur in the lower salinity areas. Neighbouring stock are kept out of the marsh through fencing. Cats are known to hunt in the area surrounding the marsh, and TLC will work with the Bruny Island community to control the impacts of cats.

The Lutregala story

Cultural heritage

The traditional inhabitants of Bruny Island were the Nuenonne clan, part of the South East Nation. The territory of the South East Nation covered more than 3,500 sq kms, with the border running from the west bank of the River Derwent from New Norfolk to Storm Bay, including all of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island as far south as South Cape and extended inland north to the Huon Valley and New Norfolk*.

The Nuenonne word ‘lutregala’ means ‘fine day’ in English and Bruny Island as a whole remains a significant place for the traditional owners of this land. It is likely that the region around and including Lutregala Marsh was used extensively by Tasmanian Aborigines prior to and after the arrival of European explorers and settlers. The extensive tidal areas in front of the reserve support shellfish and the marsh itself may have provided opportunities for hunting and gathering.

*pg 19 Tasmanian Aborigines, A History since 1803 - Lyndall Ryan

Formal protection

The site was previously owned by the Tasmanian Conservation Trust who obtained the western side of Lutregala Creek by way of a bequest from Julian and Christina Sigrist of The Sheepwash, Bruny Island. The eastern portion was sold by Mrs Ruth Bush, of Porongarup WA. In 2005 the Tasmanian Conservation Trust decided to dispose of the property to a suitable owner who would continue the conservation of the site in accordance with the original bequest from the Bush Family.

The TLC agreed to acquire the property from the Tasmanian Conservation Trust for the original amount that was paid for the eastern portion. Thanks to a number of generous donations the reserve will continue to be owned and managed solely for conservation in perpetuity. The TLC placed a permanent conservation covenant over the reserve in 2008.

Banner photograph: Arwen Dyer