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FoBM Resources


Read and hear the oral history of Black Mountain as told by:

Wally Bell

Rosemary Blemings

Ted Edwards

Jean Egan

Diane Firth

Ian Fraser

Kim Pullen

Rosemary Purdie

David Shorthouse 

Black Mountain
Oral Histories
Black Mtn Oral Histories

by Ian Fraser and Rosemary Purdie

ORDER YOUR COPY NOW—information below

An essential history of Black Mountain

Black Mountain, geographically and metaphorically at the heart of Canberra, celebrating 50 years of being a conservation reserve. It has a long history of scientific collecting and research making it one of the best studied and documented areas of its size in the ACT.

This richly illustrated book is a good general read based on a series of scientific papers prepared by local experts for a 2018 symposium, takes us to the ecological heart of the mountain—a sandstone island covered in dry sclerophyll forest that is home to over 640 species of native plants, lichens and macrofungi, 174 species of native vertebrate animals, and at least 2150 species of native insects and other invertebrates.

Summarising existing scientific knowledge about the area's biodiversity and ecology, with maps, diagrams and photographs, the book aims to increase understanding and appreciation of the area and help ensure that its values remain intact for future generations.

Ian Fraser is a naturalist, author, environmental conservationist and educator, broadcaster, blogger and tour guide who has lived in Canberra for 40 years, 27 of them at the foot of Black Mountain. He served on an ACT government environmental advisory committee for 30 years, including 12 as chair. He regards himself as an old fashioned naturalist, with especial passions for birds and orchids. Ian is the recipient of the Australian Plants Award, the Australian Natural History Medallion and an AOM for ‘services to conservation and the environment’.

Dr Rosemary Purdie is a plant ecologist focussing on fire ecology, arid ecosystems and nature conservation, and has worked for the Queensland Herbarium, Bureau of Flora and Fauna, Australian Heritage Commission and Murray Darling Basin Commission. She was the ACT’s second Commissioner for the Environment and served on the ACT’s Flora and Fauna and NRM Advisory committees for several years. In 2002 she became an Honorary Associate at the Australian National Herbarium and has been actively studying Black Mountain’s flora since 2009.


 View the book information here

Feedback about the book includes:

"It's a fine looking book, a compact and great reference to have for our local Black Mountain conservation area. Congratulations to all involved."

"The book has arrived - it is so well produced and such a pleasure to read. An excellent source book for any environmental studies in Canberra."

"It’s fabulous! Beautiful, informative, incredibly funny. What a wonderful publication. Thanks so much to all of you for going to so much trouble. I love it and can’t wait to get out on the mountain to take a closer look at the rocks, ants, flowers and - fingers crossed- echidnas! Thanks"


How and where to purchase the book:

Friends of Black Mountain Members $30 (GST included)
Recommended Retail Price $35 (GST included)
Postage $10.00 for up to 5 copies delivered to the same address in any Australian State or Territory; overseas enquiries welcome.

For your copy, email:

Copies of the book can be found at the following places: Paperchain Bookstore, National Library of Australia Bookshop, the Botanical Bookshop at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the Curatoreum at the National Arboretum, the Canberra Visitor's Centre at Regatta Point.

Paperback, 160 pages, 17cm x 24.4cm
Published 2020
ISBN 978-0-6485419-1-2

Black Mtn Anniversary Book
Rosemary Purdie



Great News!

                                                                                                                                                          Dr Rosemary Purdie


Dr Rosemary Purdie has been recognised with 'Highly Commended' for her Volunteer Leadership in the 2020 Volunteer Awards.

Rosemary Purdie is an outstanding volunteer and leader of volunteers. This is evident in her contribution to the conservation, management and promotion of Black Mountain Nature Reserve and surrounding areas for more than 8 years, individually and as a leader of volunteers, as well as more broadly.

Her excellent knowledge and the high regard in which Rosemary is held by the scientific community and community organisations enabled her coordination of the successful Black Mountain Symposium 2018. Its papers are held by the National Library and other libraries and were valuable for her and Ian Fraser to co-author Black Mountain a natural history of a Canberra icon; published in 2020 by Friends of Black Mountain as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Black Mountain being declared a conservation reserve.

Rosemary is a plant ecologist, is a key voluntary advisor to FoBM, and other organisations; such as the Australian Network for Plant Conservation Inc. She regularly leads public walks, is the botanical leader for vegetation surveys, the weeding program, interpretive signage and booklets, and advises government agencies about issues related to the Nature Reserve, including controlled burning.

Rosemary consistently educates and inspires volunteers and community awareness about all things ecological in our environment and is highly regarded for leading and inspiring volunteers and members of the community in understanding the valuable ecology of Black Mountain Nature Reserve, helping them to overcome problems, and contribute to highly regarded stewardship of this Canberra icon.

2017 ABC Radio interview

ABC Canberra's Louise Maher spoke to Ngunawal elder, Wally Bell, and convenor of Friends of Black Mountain, Linda Beveridge, about Black Mountain's woodland walk and the new interpretative signage and track markers to encourage people to learn more about some of the nature reserve's 670 plant species.

Visit the ABC Drive website to listen to the interview.

Broadcast Thu 20 Apr 2017 at 3:00pm


Listen to and watch Ian Fraser talking about Black Mountain Nature Reserve here

This site is managed in partnership with Molonglo Conservation Group

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