The Strzelecki Ranges, also known as the Strzelecki Hills, is a low mountain range that is part of the Great Dividing Range, located in the West Gippsland region of the Australian state of Victoria. The range is situated between the Latrobe Valley to the north and Bass Strait to the south. It is named after Paweł Edmund Strzelecki, a Polish explorer, who led an expedition through this region in the 1840s.
The ranges also form a biogeographic subregion of the South Eastern Highlands bioregion, within the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia. “Land of the Lyrebird” is an alternative name for the Strzelecki Ranges.
Vegetation and topography
The ranges were originally covered by a mosaic of wet forest, populated by 90-metre-tall (300-foot) Mountain Ash trees, and temperate rainforest. As a result of clearing for agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and of logging activity, the native vegetation of the Strzelecki Ranges bioregion is highly depleted, with only 19% of its original extent remaining. Most of the remaining forest is in the eastern ranges. Some has been protected inside the Tarra-Bulga National Park, the Morwell National Park and the Mount Worth State Park.
The highest peak is Mount Tassie, at approximately 740 metres (2,430 feet).
The Strzelecki Ranges fall within the territory of the Gunai or Kurnai people of Gippsland. In the Aboriginal Boonwurrung language, the range is called Tolone. Stone axes, grinding stones and bush ovens provide evidence of their use of the tall dense forests of the ranges. The ranges were a source of lyrebird tail feathers, which were used for ornamentation and for trade.
Land selection in the western Strzelecki Ranges began in the 1870s. The steepest parts of the eastern Strzelecki Ranges were opened for selection in the 1890s. However, farming and clearing was difficult in the high, wet, densely forested areas, and many farmers abandoned their selections. Most of the remaining forest is in the eastern ranges.
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- “Australia’s bioregions (IBRA)”. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Commonwealth of Australia. 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
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- Morgan, Patrick (1997). “Collapse of the Hill Farms”. The Settling of Gippsland. Gippsland Municipalities Assoc.