Hi George. I believe these "Monaro grasslands" are natural, although they may have been modified by grazing. Interesting that they occur on some hills, while other nearby hills are tree'd.
As for the dryness, the Cooma area is in a rain shadow of the Snowies, especially in winter when the westerlies deliver great snow to the mountains but have little left to deposit on the eastern side. There are also lower coastal ranges to the east which intercept moisture coming in from the Pacific, so even the summers are fairly dry. The area has poor granitic soils, but is good for sheep.
Some plants found here are normally found a lot further inland, sich as Brachychiton populneus and Callitris sp
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