By Cathy Jones
Maria Reserve is located on the foreshores of the Cooks River at Belfield. Entry to the Reserve is from Water Street, Maria Street or Elliott Reserve.
Maria Reserve measures approximately 1.7 hectares in area and is a strip of open space along the banks of the Cooks River from Water St to Elliot St Belfield. The Reserve is a green link in a chain of reserves and open space along the Cooks River and Coxs Creek in the Belfield area. The reserve provides important habitat connectivity for birds, possums and fish along the upper Cooks River.
Maria Reserve was developed on land reserved in 1951 by the NSW Government for a proposed roadway along the Cooks River travelling from Botany Bay to Chullora. However, this proposal was eventually abandoned in favour of the construction of the M5 Motorway, located some distance from this land.
In 1995, the land was established as a bushland reserve and was extensively landscaped with revegetated native species. Maria Reserve contains isolated individual remnant trees (mostly Turpentine and Ironbark) of the Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest Endangered Ecological Community. The Reserve supports a community of mature eucalypts and a variety of shrubs. Bush regeneration regularly takes place in the Reserve to maintain the bushland.
Maria Reserve contains a dry ‘creek bed’ that runs through the Reserve. A small wooden bridge is built over the ‘bed’, however it is likely that this was an old tributary. The Reserve also contains walkways and open grassed areas, seating, and footpaths.
Ambrose Ecological Services Pty Ltd, 2009, Strathfield Vertebrae Fauna Study
Eco Logical Australia and Strathfield Council, 2019, Strathfield Biodiversity Strategy 2020-2030, viewed at https://www.strathfield.nsw.gov.au/live/biodiversity/
Insight Ecology, 2017, The Fauna of Strathfield (Local Government Area), viewed at https://www.strathfield.nsw.gov.au/live/biodiversity/
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion profile, updated 2019, viewed at https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10789