Fernhill Estate sits above two major geological faults at the foot of the Blue Mountains which has created an incredible diversity of landforms, soils, waterways, and vegetation.
It is where the clay shale soils of the Cumberland Plain meet the sandstone of the Blue Mountains. This underlying geology has created a variety of natural features, including sandstone ridges, incised gullies, and open plains, as well as a variety of plant and animal life.
Many of Australia’s iconic native animals are found in the Estate, including koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, goannas, echidnas and rare woodland birds.
Greater Sydney Parklands’ environmental program seeks to protect and conserve this natural environment for generations to come.
Fernhill Estate has two Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements which cover nearly two thirds of the Estate. Known as ‘biobanking’, these agreements ensure in-perpetuity conservation protection of these areas. Greater Sydney Parklands manages the care of both the biobanked areas, and areas with important habitat that fall outside these agreements, such as the riparian corridor along Mulgoa Creek.
Our biodiversity management is focused on two key areas - invasive species control and bushland and habitat restoration. So far, our work has targeted removing invasive species such as lantana (Lantana camara) and privet (Ligustrum) to help regenerate the native plants. This will be an ongoing program of regular removal.
Fernhill Estate is the last woodland setting for critically endangered birds like the Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot, before they migrate across the vast expanse of the Blue Mountains escarpment. Greater Sydney Parklands is working with birdlife experts on how we can improve the woodland bird habitat to better protect these two birds. We will begin planting trees and shrubs in the coming year, and carefully manage density and species selection to ensure the open woodland habitats are maintained and enhanced.
Feral Animal Control
Greater Sydney Parklands is working with Local Land Services on fox and deer control programs across the Estate. These are part of regional initiatives timed to have the best outcomes for Mulgoa Valley. Pigs have also been an issue and GSP has managed to trap and remove animals when sighted and we keep a diligent watch for any evidence of these animals.
The Przewalski’s horses at Fernhill Estate are an extremely rare species of Mongolian wild horse, once thought to be extinct in the wild. These horses were kept by the previous landowner as part of a private animal collection and were abandoned onsite.
Since becoming custodians of Fernhill Estate in 2020, Greater Sydney Parklands has worked diligently to contain the impact of these wild animals while seeking a suitable alternative long-term home for them.
Greater Sydney Parklands is working with Local Land Services, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Earl Courtenay Pty Ltd to rehome the Przewalski’s horses in 2023/24.
Earl Courtenay Pty Ltf is based in Wallacia and has over 150 years of combined experience in animal husbandry and care for exotic and endangered animals.
Significant rainfall across Sydney in early 2022 highlighted areas across the Estate that required erosion management. This includes around the Southern Dam at Littlefields Creek and several wash outs around the Estate.
Greater Sydney Parklands has stabilised the southern dam wall and is working with Soil Conservation Services to investigate and rectify other areas of erosion as part of our ongoing maintenance of the Estate.