The Truganina Explosives Reserve at Altona will be opened to the public for an event marking World Mental Health Day.

Marilyn Olliff, who chairs the Hobsons Bay Wetlands Centre based at the reserve, said the event would include a talk by Dr Justin Lawson of Deakin University’s Faculty of Health on how being outdoors makes our brains work differently.

“He’s going to give a talk on how we change when we go outdoors into nature,” Dr Olliff said. “One of the things about us living in a very urban and fairly densely populated society is that we don’t get the chance to catch our breath, if you like.

“What Justin is working on is, they are actually looking at changes to the brain when you are outdoors just looking at vistas and away from traffic noise and things like that.”

The reserve, once used to store explosives for civil use such as mining and quarrying, operated from 1901-62 and is home to rare flora and fauna untouched for decades.

The reserve includes the keeper’s residence built in 1897 and 16.5 hectares of salt marsh and sand dunes, remnants from the magazine, an explosive testing shelter and tramway lines used to transport explosives.

The event will include guided walks, children’s activities and a sausage sizzle, and children’s author Jackie Kerin will be there with the Flock Oz to welcome the migratory birds back for the summer.

It’s at the Truganina Explosives Reserve, 274 Queen Street, Altona, on Saturday, October 12 from 10am-2pm.