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At the heart of Melbourne Museum is the Forest Gallery—a piece of Victoria's mountain landscape complete with tall eucalypts, ferns, rare plants and wildlife. Behind the glass doors you'll find a verdant gully of cool temperate rainforest plants with Gondwanan origins. Smell the misty air and damp earth while you listen to the songs of birds you won't hear anywhere else in the city.
The damp, shady forest gives way to drier, more open vegetation as you walk along the path. Learn about the evolution of the eucalypt forests so typical of south-eastern Australia, and how our land is shaped by water, fire, climate and people. Along the way, look for the Forest Gallery's animal residents, from native fish and spiny crayfish in the creek, to tiny wrens that flit among the bushes. Somewhere above you is a Tawny Frogmouth. If you're lucky, you'll see the Satin Bowerbird dancing in his bower adorned with blue objects.
Just like a real forest, the Forest Gallery changes through the seasons as birds nest, flowers bloom, fungi fruit and berries ripen. Aboriginal people of the Kulin nation recognised seasons by the life cycles of plants and animals; see a reconstruction of their seasons along the Forest Gallery path. At the far end of the forest, a clearing invites you to contemplate how we think of the bush. A lone chimney rebuilt here following the 2009 Black Saturday fires stands as a symbol of bushfire—a destructive force that is essential to regenerating these beautiful forests.