Our Latest News

Overland Track bookings open with a rush

18/07/2017

Tasmania's iconic world-renowned bushwalks are a key driver behind the boom in visitor numbers to the state, and bookings for the Overland Track walking season have opened with a rush for the peak summer period.More

Works under way to improve safety at Bruny Island Neck

07/07/2017

Bruny Island Main Road at The Neck will soon be a safer environment for road users, visitors and wildlife, with road and car park improvements starting this week.More

Productive summer on the Overland Track

27/06/2017

The Overland Track's summer works program has seen gains in sanitation, historic heritage conservation works and track improvements.More

Murphys Flat Conservation Area Management Statement 2010

The full version of the Murphys Flat Conservation Area  Management Statement 2010 can be downloaded as a PDF (5.3 Mb).

Summary

Murphys Flat Conservation Area is located within a wetland complex on the southern shore of
the River Derwent beside the Lyell Highway between Granton and New Norfolk. The area has
been recognised as being particularly species rich, with expansive areas of marshes, underwater
grasses, tidal flats and reed beds that provide habitat and breeding areas for large populations of
fish, platypus and waterfowl.

Murphys Flat Conservation Area occupies an area of approximately 66 hectares and comprises 25
to 30 per cent of remaining wetlands in the River Derwent. It is listed within both the Directory of
Wetlands of National Significance and the Tasmanian Geoconservation Database.

Birds are particularly abundant in the reserve due largely to the diverse habitat. The vicinity is well
known for its large population of black swans and it is a likely hunting and foraging area for five
significant bird species including the wedge-tailed eagle, white-bellied sea-eagle, swift parrot,
masked owl and great crested grebe. The secretive, little-known Australasian bittern is also
known to occur there.

Murphys Flat Conservation Area serves as a nursery for the sandy flathead and also provides
important shelter for other juvenile native fish. Backwater areas of the reserve are of particular
biological significance with unique botanical assemblages and an abundance of gastropod molluscs.

Several features of cultural heritage significance are found within the reserve. These include the
ruins of an infamous 1820s inn and the location of one of Australia’s first land reclamations,
Lieutenant Governor Arthur’s ‘Marsh Farm’. The site is also reported to have been on a travelling
route for two Aboriginal tribes.

In past decades, the value of the environmental services that wetlands provide has been largely
overlooked resulting in this wetland area and others like it being neglected. Until recently, Murphys
Flat was used as a dump site for domestic rubbish, garden waste and for overburden from road
and earthworks. As a result, the area of wetland vegetation communities has decreased and its
condition has been further compromised through the spread of weeds, largely from this source.

With a growing interest and focus on the health of the River Derwent, wetlands fringing the river
have gained a wider appreciation. Natural values have been surveyed, impacts and threats
assessed, access points closed and a weed control program commenced.

It is recognised that this wetland cannot be managed in isolation as it is part of the wider River
Derwent system. The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) will need to collaborate with other
stakeholders if Murphys Flat is to continue to remain a viable wetland into the future.

The vision for Murphys Flat Conservation Area is that it will contribute significantly to regional
biodiversity and geodiversity in the upper River Derwent estuary, provide water quality services
and research opportunities and be a vehicle for increasing public awareness of wetland values.