Marino Conservation Park is situated within the southern suburbs of metropolitan Adelaide. The Mt Lofty ranges form the eastern backdrop of Adelaide, but in the south, they curve towards the coast at Marino Rocks. Here, on the last high point before the sea, is the Marino Lighthouse. Marino Conservation Park covers about 30 hectares just north of the Lighthouse. It was proclaimed as a conservation park in 1989.
This land originally belonged to the Kaurna Nation but after European settlement it was used as grazing land and a deep gully was used as a garbage tip by Marion Council. This has since been covered by landfill and is currently being revegetated. From the crest near the lighthouse, there are magnificent views over the city, and along Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches. The carpark at the top of Nimboya Road is the best point of entry to the park. You can get to Marino Conservation Park by catching a train to Marino Rocks railway station and then walking to the top of Nimboya Road .
There are two quite different types of vegetation in the park. The westerly section adjoining the rail corridor, is covered with coastal heath. This was the predominant vegetation along the Metropolitan coastline, but few examples have survived the spread of urbanisation. This area of some 8 hectares is the best remaining example of coastal heath vegetation in the Metropolitan area and was the main reason for proclaiming it a conservation park. The remainder of the park other than a second smaller patch of heath on the eastern slopes, would have been open grassy woodland of drooping she-oak, mallee box and elegant wattle.
Coastal heath comprises low-growing shrubby species rarely exceeding waist high. All are sclerophyllous, and many are rigid or have spiny leaves. But among them grow a wide variety of bulbs and other annuals. Most of the 130 indigenous plant species surviving in the Park are found in this area, including most of the 40 or so species of conservation significance. They flower between spring and autumn each year.
Membership is open to any interested person with a fee of $10.00 per annum. Most of the members are retirees and have been working in the park for some 27 years now. We are therefore always keen to welcome new and hopefully younger members. Either contact the Regional Office of DEWNR or any of the members listed on the Contacts page, for information about becoming a member.
The Friends Group Committee hold formal meetings bimonthly, usually around 7.30pm on a Wednesday evening. Contact one of the members listed on the Contacts page to find out the date and venus for the next meeting. The AGM is usually held in April/May at the Community Hall on Newland Avenue, Marino. Visitors are always welcome to attend and hear the guest speaker.
Members hold regular working bees to assist with the management of the Park. Regular activities include weed control, direct seeding, seed propogation, and planting and watering of tube stock. Past activities have included mapping and counting of individual threatened species, and identifying and photographing indigenous species. Weed control is especially important in areas affected by fire late in 2011. In 2015, the Friends Group began construction of a Botanical Trail through the park. This is now complete and gives visitors an easy but interesting walk through the park, finishing at the Lighthouse on the top of the hill. Dogs are permitted in the park but must be on a lead at all times.