As early as 1910, the unique landscape of the Tidbinbilla Valley was suggested as a suitable place for a nature reserve. In 1936, on the advice of the Royal Society of Australia, an area of 2000 acres in the valley was set aside as a National Park and Fauna Reserve. In 1939, the first koala enclosure was built by the Institute of Anatomy, and six were imported from Victoria due to being driven to extinction in the ACT.
Following ongoing pressure from groups such as the Royal Society of Canberra, freehold land was gazetted in 1964 and a ranger was appointed, adding 6,987 acres of freehold land to the reserve. In 1969 three large compounds were constructed for emus, kangaroos, and waterfowl, and bird feeding tables were established. In the November 1971 the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve was officially gazetted in its current form.
Nestled between Tidbinbilla and Gibraltar Ranges, Tidbinbilla now forms part of the Australian Alps National Parks, a series of parks and reserves that span Australia’s high country. The Australian Alps are National Heritage listed, recognising that their natural and cultural values are of outstanding national significance.