The Friends of Yarra Flats Park is formally known as Riverland Conservation Society and was established over 35 years ago to help the rehabilitation of this park

Parks Victoria are wanting to alienate 4 hectares of Yarra Flats Park for a commercial development called “Treetops” to proceed right over the top of the Banksia Billabong.

The development is an adventure activity involving ropes and zip lines suspended from trees.

It requires Banyule Council to amend the planning scheme covering the Northern section of Yarra Flats Park.

The Friends of Yarra Flats Park have a number of serious concerns that we see outweigh any possible benefits of the proposal. We therefore believe Council should not approve the planning scheme amendment and Parks Victoria should withdraw the proposal.

Loss of amenity for the local community 

  • We are very concerned about the erosion of public spaces that are used for relaxation and passive recreation of the local community.
  • This park is recognised as unique for its semi-rural/natural character, which is highly valued by the community and we do not want to see this damaged.
  • A well-funded attractive nature reserve would be a far better alternative use of the area.
  • Commercial imperatives can easily override public amenity and conservation requirements.

Environmental issues

  • The significant old remnant River Red Gums in the site are some of the oldest trees in the northern section of the park.These trees have scarce vital hollows that birds and other wildlife use to nest, which this activity will severely impact.
  • Melbourne Water is considering a proposal to divert stormwater to re-water The Annulus and Banksia billabongs. This proposal over the top of the Banksia Billabong will reduce the value of this rehabilitation.

Safety issues

  • Treetops will put the lives and health of children at the mercy of River Red Gums that we have significant safety concerns about.
  • Regularly River Red Gums in the park drop large branches and recently two apparently healthy ones have completely failed and fallen over only 400m from the treetops site. 

Further considerations

  • Commercial use and development will bring increased traffic and will most likely lead to more cars and buses using The Boulevard and Glenard Drive.
  • The toilet block will be upgraded and various environmental improvements made. A failure to carry out maintenance works by a public authority cannot be used as justification for commercial use of public space.
  • The proposal has the stated goal of improving the community’s appreciation of the natural environment, however, it is basically a ‘fun and adventure park’. There are much better ways to do this.
  • This activity could be erected in forest in numerous less sensitive locations around Melbourne. It should not be installed into the small amount of precious remaining inner Melbourne parkland.
  • There has been no proper public consultation about the proposal up until now when it is being presented as a done deal. The community needs to have a serious say in their local park management.
Centuries old River Red Gum on the edge of the Banksia Billabong


Friends' Working Bees



We have a large planting programme this year. From April to June we will be working around the Annulus Billabong area where we have 1000 plants to put in.

From July onwards we will be working around the Phillips-Fox Billabong which is near the McArthur Road entrance to the park.

Sunday June 6th is the date of the next planting.

We start  at 10am and go for about 2 hours.

The Annulus planting site is through the gate next to the Main Yarra Trail 400m south of the carpark.






Yarra Flats Park News

The Annulus Billabong is having a good drink for the first time since 2011

Local ducks waste no time in checking out the new waterbody
From 2011 till October 2020 The Annulus Billabong has been dry.
On October 6 2020 Melbourne Water started pumping river water into the Annulus Billabong, with the aim of filling it to the tree line around its edge. This required around 32 megalitres (12 Olympic swimming pools) over 7 days to achieve.
 The Annulus still has sections that are in good ecological condition despite the prolonged dry time. However, they have been deteriorating steadily so have been well and truely overdue for this drink. 
 With the construction of the Upper Yarra Dam 60 years ago and diminishing rainfall due to climate change natural floods have been severely curtailed from once every few years to being a rare event now.
 So Melbourne Water have had to resort to pumping water into several Yarra River billabongs over the last few years to make up for this reduced filling by natural floods.
 Billabongs form an important component of the Yarra River and its floodplain’s ecology thus their maintenance is vital for a healthy river.


Communities Environment Programme Grant

We are thrilled to announce that our group has been successful in obtaining a Federal Government grant, for regeneration work in Yarra Flats Park, through the Commonwealth Communities Environment Programme.

Our Federal member Kate Thwaites and her team have been instrumental in our success with this grant and we are most grateful for their support in this matter and for our work generally in the park.

The grant is for $16,000 to be used for works around The Annulus Billabong area and the Phillips-Fox Billabong area.

$12,000 is earmarked for contractors to come in and do woody weed removal, weed spraying and site preparation for our plantings.

$4,000 is for us to purchase plants, guards, stakes and equipment for planting such as mechanical drills for digging the plant holes.

With this we will be able to significantly improve our productivity and greatly increase the number of plants we put in.




2019 working bees

Winter is a good time for planting in the park as the soil is softer and the plants get well watered-in naturally. However, the planters need to be hardy soles to deal with the cold and often wet conditions. Over the last six months we have planted around 650 shrubs and grasses - mainly in The Annulus environ - with 150 hours of volunteer time. We have had to upgrade the guards used around the plants to combat the grazing kangaroos that have been a real problem devouring last years plants. You can see our efforts from the Main Yarra Trail 100m downstream of the carpark.

Jane Goodall visits Yarra Flats Park with her Roots and Shoots organisation on 11 May '19 - 100 children have fun putting 1200 plants in at the event

Find out more about her visit