Basalt Plains

This Draft of the Corangamite Regional Catchment Strategy is currently awaiting Ministerial approval and may be subject to change

Overview

Land Area262,402 hectares
Population15,512
Main TownsBannockburn
Winchelsea
Inverleigh
Cressy
Anakie
Lismore
Climate548 mm per annum at Berrybank
509 mm per annum at Bannockburn
Land UseSheep grazing
Cropping
Main IndustriesAgriculture
Wind power generation
Natural FeaturesBarwon River
Leigh River
Moorabool River
Woady Yaloak River
Inverleigh Flora and Fauna reserve
Mount Anakie
Map of the Basalt Plains Landscape System including link to NRM Portal
Click on map to access Natural Resource Management Portal interactive mapping

Landscape

This landscape system is situated to the north and west of Geelong, and runs across the region south of the Northern Uplands area.  Along its southern extremity it basically follows the Princes Highway to Birregurra before heading north to the Hamilton Highway.  It then follows to the north of the Hamilton Highway to the region’s western boundary.  It includes the towns of Bannockburn, Winchelsea, Inverleigh, Cressy, Anakie and Lismore. This landscape includes portions of the Corangamite, Colac Otway, Surf Coast, Golden Plains and Greater Geelong local government areas. It includes part of the Wadawurrung traditional lands as well as a small portion of Eastern Maar country.  It is predominantly in the Victorian Volcanic Plain bioregion and the vast majority of the land is in private ownership.

The landform of the Basalt Plain is generally flat to gently undulating, rising only up to 20 metres.  The major rivers in this area include the Leigh, Moorabool and Woady Yaloak rivers (originating in the Northern Uplands) and the Barwon which flows from the Otways via the Barwon Plains landscape system. Other important waterways include Mia Mia, Five Mile and Warrambine creeks.   Sections of the Barwon River and Hovell Creek occur to the east.

Key values identified in this landscape system include:
• known rare and threatened species
• significant Ecological Vegetation Classes and wetland vegetation condition
• significant bird species and important bird habitat
• significant fish, reptile and amphibian species
• recreation, including camping, fishing, picnicking and game hunting
• areas of drought refuge.

Livelihood

Relative soil productivity on private agricultural land across the Basalt Plains is the lowest in the Corangamite region outside of Ballarat and Geelong cities. Relative soil productivity is low to moderate across the area, with some higher productivity patches scattered in the west, and the lowest productivity concentrated near the eastern boundary.

The land is generally used for agricultural purposes, including sheep grazing with some areas of cropping.  Paddocks often feature piles of rocks and boulders that have been cleared out of the soil to increase cultivation.  In recent years the Basalt Plains have seen the installation of a number of wind farms.

One of the major transformations to the Basalt Plains has been the removal of rocks from paddocks to enable them to be cultivated. This has substantially increased the productivity of primary production across the Basalt Plains but has had a major impact on native grasslands. Invasive plant species including Serrated Tussock and Chilean Needle Grass also present a major threat to both agriculture and native grasslands.

Lifestyle

The Basalt Plains has a population of over 15,500 – around 3.8% of the Corangamite region – and is the sixth most populous area of the region. Although the largest landscape system by area, the Basalt Plains has a low population density. The most densely populated area of the Basalt Plains is the township of Bannockburn.

The changing demographic of the farming sector is of concern, as the average age of full-time farmers increases with fewer younger people taking over the operation of farms. Farms changing their principal business is also an issue, with wind farming and soft wood plantations becoming more prevalent.

Subdivision of larger properties and a growth in hobby farms is notable, particularly in the east of the Basalt Plains, in closer proximity to Geelong around townships such as Inverleigh, Bannockburn and Anakie. The new demographic introduced by these lifestyle properties increases the need for education on appropriate land management practices.

Landcare groups in this area include the Maude and District, Corio, Brisbane Ranges, Batesford-Fyansford-Stonehaven, Barrabool Hills, Leigh District and Cundare Duverney groups.

Native herbland
De-rocked and ploughed field