Crooks Racecourse

Crooks Racecourse, 558ha, is one of the highest privately owned acreages in Australia.  It sits in the Australian Alps, right on top of the Great Dividing Range with a highest point around 1750m above sea level.  The reserve is surrounded by Kosciusko National Park on three sides and is generally under snow from July to October.  It features a mix of snow gums on the hills and ridges and large areas of treeless frost hollows with snow grass and alpine fens and bogs.


Crooks Racecourse directly adjoins the Jagungal Wilderness Area and shares most of the same values.  Both the Australia Alps Walking Track and the Kiandra to Kosciusko Crosscountry Ski Route follow part of the northern boundary of the property.


In terms of flora, Crooks protects substantial areas of the Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens ecological community, which is nationally listed as endangered. A total of 164 species were identified in a vegetation survey in 2021 including six orchids and one listed species.  With most of the property being burnt in the Dunns Road megafire in early 2020, it is likely that the number of species evident will increase as the vegetation recovers.


A post-fire fauna survey in 2020-21 recorded 64  bird,  28  mammal,  14  reptile  and  three  amphibian  species.  Of greatest interest were records of the EPBC vulnerable listed Broad-toothed Rat and the endangered Alpine She-oak Skink as well as nine other listed species including the Eastern Pygmy Possum.  Some species were found well outside their normal range including the Alpine Water Skink.


Threats to the values of Crooks Racecourse include the very large number of feral horses in the adjoining national park, pigs and Sambar deer.  Feral animal control is a major focus of our management.