Shell Hill Reserve

    Where is it?: Shell Hill Reserve is located at the corner of Murraylands Road and Black Hill Road, Back Hill. Entrance and parking is off Black Hill Road.  

    Shell Hill Reserve   Shell Hill Reserve

    Owner: Crown Land managed by the Mid Murray Council1.

    Property summary: Total area c. 87 hectares. Hundred of Ridley – Sections 488 and 489.

    Landscape SA Management Region: Murraylands and Riverland

    History: Shell Hill is a deposit of oyster shells that were in some places 6 metres thick. At over 5 million years old, Shell Hill is unique to South Australia, and the hills were formerly part of a shallow sea occupying the Murray Basin.

    Mining of the shells as a source of fertiliser was begun in early 19321. A new company, Shell Fertilisers Ltd was registered in January 1932 to acquire from J. C. G. Staehr, E. Downs, and Ellis & Clark Limited, mineral claims registered Nos. 13422 and 13423, situated in the hundred of Ridley, and the beds of shell comprised therein, together with certain plant, machinery and other assets, and to carry on metallurgical and chemical operations2. The deposit of oysters on which Shell Fertilizers Ltd. was working was in the form of three hills about 400 feet higher than the surrounding country3 of which only one partially remains.

    After a lapse of some years since 1936 Shell Fertilisers Ltd. began advertising Ground Oyster Shell for sale in September and October 19414.

    Sections 488 and 489 were proclaimed as a recreation reserve under the care, control and management of the District Council of Ridley, now Mid Murray Council on 22 July 19765.

    More information: WalkingSA

    Habitat: The habitat is Very Open Mallee with Chindoo Mallee (Eucalyptus brachycalyx), Red Mallee (E. oleosa) and White Mallee (E. gracilis). Shell Hill Reserve 

    Total Species Recorded to Date: 66 (non-passerines 28, passerines 38).

    Common Species: White-plumed Honeyeater, Australian Magpie, Adelaide Rosella, Grey Shrikethrush, Rufous Whistler

    Less Common Species: Rainbow Bee-eater, Australian Boobook, White-faced Heron, Rainbow Bee-eater, Australian Hobby, Eastern Shriketit

    1 Crown Lands Act 1929-1975: Hundred of Ridley-Recreation Reserves DedicatedSouth Australian Government Gazette 31: 190 (22 July 1976).

    2 Wongulla. Oyster Shell Fertilizer. The Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record. 41(11): 3. (18 March 1932).

    3 Shell Fertilizer Ltd. The Chronicle LXXIV (3,921): 28. (28 January 1932)

    4 Carbonate of Lime. Valuable Fertilizer from Oyster Shell Deposits. The Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record. (21 July 1932). 42 (29): 9.

    5 Advertising: Shell Fertilisers Ltd. The News 24: 6. (3 September 1941).

    Updated: 28/07/2021


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