Tennyson Dunes Conservation Reserve

Where is it?: Tennyson Dunes Conservation Reserve is situated between Semaphore and Grange along Military Road. Car parking is available off Military Road. The reserve is also accessible by public transport – Bus Route 112 (City to West Lakes – either Stop 32A or 32B).

Owner: Department for Environment and Water.

Property summary: Total area 17 hectares. Hundred of Yatala – Allotments 10 (Deposited plan 27747), 500 (Deposited plan 95876), 502 (Deposited plan 95877), 701 (Deposited plan 95898), 3 (Filed plan 119021), 4 (Filed plan 119022), 32 (Filed plan 9708).

Landscape Management Region: Green Adelaide

History: Prior to European settlement in 1836, Adelaide’s metropolitan coastline consisted of an almost uninterrupted 30km stretch of sand dunes. The dunes extended from Seacliff in the south to Outer Harbour in the north. Only the dunes at Tennyson and a small section at North Brighton remain of these original metropolitan dunes.

Tennyson Dunes ReserveThe area along Adelaide’s coast was originally inhabited by the Kaurna people. It is believed that Governor Tennyson (after whom the dunes are named) once owned a holiday residence nearby north of the dunes.

During the mid 1970’s a concerted public campaign was staged to save the last significant section of remnant coastal dunes along the metropolitan coast from development. In response, the State Government’s Coast Protection Board purchased a considerable portion of the dunes.

The Tennyson Dunes Group was established in 1995. In conjunction with other dedicated community groups they have been actively involved in various projects and management of the local dunes. Funded initially through Coastcare the group has undertaken activities including pest weed and animal control, revegetation projects, rare plant recovery, fire prevention, education, monitoring and interpretive signage.

Tennyson Dunes Conservation Reserve was declared on 12 February 2014.

Habitat: Tennyson Dunes Conservation Reserve is generally characterised by a flat sandy beach, backed by vegetated semi-stable medium sized dunes that range from approximately 60 to 200m in width. There are a number of habitats within the reserve:

  • Foredune – Open grassland with Hairy Spinifex (Spinifex hirsutus) as the dominant species with traces of Coast Saltbush (Atriplex cinerea) and Knobby Club-rush (Ficinia nodosa). Smaller, immature Coast Daisy-bush (Olearia axillaris) are regenerating vigorously at the landward edge.
  • Interdune Swale – Low Open Shrubland with Coast Daisy-bush (Olearia axillaris) / Seaberry Saltbush (Rhagodia candolleana ssp. candolleana)
  • Tennyson Dunes Conservation Reserve looking southHind Dune/Seaward Face – Low Shrubland with Coast Daisy-bush /Coastal Bearded-heath (Leucopogon parviflorus) +/- Nitrebush (Nitraria billardierei)
  • Hind Dune Ridge – Open Shrubland. Dominated by Coastal Bearded-heath and the deep-rooted Dryland Tea-tree (Melaleuca lanceolata), with Cushion Fanflower (Scaevola crassifolia) dominating the understorey.
  • Hind Dune/Leeward Face – Tall Shrubland with (Melaleuca lanceolata) / Bower Spinach (Tetragonia implexicoma). This area is heavily infested with Perennial Veldt Grass (Ehrharta calycina), White Arctotis (Arctotis stoechadifolia) and False Caper (Euphorbia terracina).

More information: 

DEW  City of Charles Sturt  Tennyson Dunes Group

Total Species Recorded to Date: 59 (non-passerines 39, passerines 20)

Common Species: Crested Pigeon, Nankeen Kestrel, Singing Honeyeater

Less Common Species: New Holland Honeyeater, Little Wattlebird, Willie Wagtail

Updated: 28/07/2021


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