Tallong’s Natural Environment
Tallong is a cold climate area with an average annual rainfall in the village of 650mm, increasing to about 900 mm in the east of the Tallong district. The land is spread over an elevated tableland etched to varying degrees by the Shoalhaven River and its tributaries foremost of which is Barber’s Creek. The village is 620 metres above sea level with the highest points in the district being Sugarloaf Hill at 720 metres and Warrima Hill at 717 metres above sea level. The Shoalhaven Gorge cuts through the elevated area dropping down to approximately 100m above sea level on the river bed.
Tallong has long been of interest to geologists, naturalists and bush walkers with its ancient geological formations, interesting soil structures, preserved bushland habitats and scenic vistas.
Tallong bushland is made up of dark and light barked Eucalypts like Brittle Gum Eucalyptus mannifera; Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus rossii, Cassurina littoralis, Acacia elongata, Banksia spinulosa and the blue toned Argyle Apple, Eucalyptus cinerea. Apart from the inevitable wombats, kangaroos and dark wallabies, the lyrebird and its imitative call is most noticeable in the adjacent bushland. Other birds that give the bush a flash of colour are the red tails of the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus lathami that feed on the local Casuarina and the Gang Gang Cockatoo, Callocphalon fimbriatum with their grey and coral colouring.
At Tallong village, Barbers Creek was dammed in the late 19th century, to provide water for the steam trains running between Goulburn and Sydney and this now provides a wetland habitat for many waterbirds and wildlife .
The Tallong Midge Orchid Genoplesium plumosum, listed as endangered under Federal and State conservation laws is now found only in the Tallong area and the community has adopted it as its emblem. The orchid is limited to sites around Tallong characterised by very shallow soils overlying flat to gently sloping sheets of sandstone. Surrounding vegetation consists of low heath like plants like Kunzea parvifolia. Midge orchids in general die back after flowering and exist as a dormant tuber in the ground for much of the year. Flowering occurs in either spring or more usually autumn after reasonable rain. The species produces a single flowering stem 10-20 cm tall which bears 1-8 small flowers clustered at the top of the stem. Flowers show green and purple stripes and have a reddish purple tongue.