The Strzelecki Ranges, also known as the Strzelecki Hills, is a low mountain range in the Gippsland region of south-eastern Australia between the Latrobe Valley to the north and Bass Strait to the south. It is named after Paweł Edmund Strzelecki, a Polish explorer, who led an expedition through this region in the 1840s.
The ranges were originally covered by a mosaic of wet forest, populated by 90 metre tall Mountain Ash trees, and temperate rainforest. As a result of clearing for agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and of logging activity, the native vegetation of the Strzelecki Ranges bioregion is highly depleted, with only 19% of its original extent remaining. Most of the remaining forest is in the eastern ranges. Some has been protected inside the Tarra-Bulga National Park, the Morwell National Park and the Mount Worth State Park.
The Strzelecki Ranges fall within the territory of the Gunai or Kurnai people of Gippsland. Stone axes, grinding stones and bush ovens provide evidence of their use of the tall dense forests of the ranges. The ranges were a source of lyrebird tail feathers, which were used for ornamentation and for trade.
Land selection in the western Strzelecki Ranges began in the 1870s. The steepest parts of the eastern Strzelecki Ranges were opened for selection in the 1890s. However, farming and clearing was difficult in the high, wet, densely forested areas, and many farmers abandoned their selections. Most of the remaining forest is in the eastern ranges.
The highest peak is Mount Tassie (approximately 740 metres (2,430 ft).)
- Traill B, Porter C 2001. Nature Conservation Review, Victoria 2001. Victorian National Parks Association. p. 106
- Bradshaw, John (1999). The Early Settlement of South Gippsland. Coal Creek Heritage Village. pp. 3–4.
- Morgan, Patrick (1997). "chapter 12 ‘Collapse of the Hill Farms’". The Settling of Gippsland. Gippsland Municipalities Assoc.
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