Two New South Wales Hinterland Stations Join National Parks Register | Blue Mountain Gazette
Two huge stations in the west have been purchased by the NSW government to become new national parks, which are slated to open in the middle of next year.
In total, the purchase will see 166,924 hectares pass into public hands, protecting rare flora and fauna but also offering tourist getaways and hiking and 4×4 trails.
The government says the purchases will also give it the opportunity to sequester “considerable volumes of carbon”.
The government purchased the 121,390 hectare Avenel / Mt Westwood station near Broken Hill (once part of the cattle king Sir Sidney Kidman’s Corona) and the 45,534 hectare Koonaburra station near Ivanhoe, which will add 166,924 combined hectares.
The Avenel / Mt Westwood station is the second largest National Parks and Wildlife Service purchase in state history.
The announcement follows another purchase announced in June of two neighboring resorts, Langidoon and Metford, 65 kilometers east of Broken Hill, covering nearly 60,000 hectares.
Environment Minister Matt Kean said the two purchases bring the total additions to the national park’s estate to 520,000 hectares since August 2019.
“In just over two years, we have added over half a million hectares to our park, crushing target after target and ensuring valuable habitat and biodiversity for future generations,” said Kean.
“This latest expansion will conserve significant areas of critical habitat types in western New South Wales that are currently not protected in the park area.”
The government has stated that the Avenel / Mt Westwood station is a “remote and ecologically diverse landscape on the southern border of Australia, includes dramatic dune fields of the Strzelecki Desert in transition to the rocky plateau of the Barrier Range, with a network of red river gum and coolabah borders rivers, streams and streams “.
“The property also supports habitat for around 30 endangered plant and animal species, including the Australian bustard and the dusky jumping mouse. “
Koonaburra station was “a vast area of sand plain and dune fields with a vast network of water depressions (” melon holes “) providing important water sources for many species. It is also home to the habitat of at least 20 endangered animal species, including the Major Mitchell cockatoo, Mallee poultry, and fat-tailed dunnart “.
With 121,390 ha, Avenel is the second largest land acquisition for a national park in the history of the NPWS, after Narriearra who created the Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park.
Avenel was special because he:
- straddles two bioregions – the Simpson Strzelecki dune fields and the Broken Hill complex;
- protects three landscapes that are not protected in any other national park in the state and several other poorly reserved landscapes;
- is diverse, protecting nearly 50 different ecosystems or types of plant communities – 21 of which are not reserved at the bioregional level.
“The property features an array of arid landforms extending from the rocky plateau of the Barrier Range – with floodplains, gilgais and drainage lines washing over the gibber plains – to the spectacular fields of dunes of the Strzelecki desert.
“The vegetation includes acacia and lamb’s quarters shrubs on the rocky ranges, meadows of Mitchell grasses on the spreading plains, woodlands dominated by white cypress pine and belah (a filao) across the fields. of dunes and an extensive network of drainage canals that support riparian forests dominated by red river gum and coolabah.
“Habitat for approximately 30 endangered species is likely to occur on the property, including Australian bustard, dusky jumping mouse, eastern fat-tailed gecko, and yellow-keeled swainsona, a small flowering herbaceous plant. resembling peas.
“Located in Ngurunta Country to the west and Maljangapa Country to the east, the property has significant Aboriginal cultural heritage value, with significant artefacts and sites throughout the property including mounds, quarries and burial sites.
“Avenel is set to become an exciting new tourist destination with campgrounds, 4×4 tours and hiking trails. It is expected to open to the public in mid-2022.”
The Koonaburra station contains’ two threatened ecological communities: the acacia melvillei shrub area in the Riverina and Murray-Darling Depression bioregions (endangered) which is distributed over the southern part of the property and the Sandhill Pine Forest in the Riverina, the Murray-Darling depression and southwestern New South Wales. Slope bioregions (endangered) which is widely present in the northern part of the property “.
“A comprehensive and improved wildlife management program will be implemented throughout the park, including improved and adapted fencing infrastructure. This will aid in the regeneration of native vegetation and the sequestration of large volumes of carbon.
“The station is located on The Wool Track, 100 km northeast of Ivanhoe and 140 km southwest of Cobar.
“The soils are a mixture of loam, light to heavy red clay, gray soil from light to heavy, self-mulched trays interspersed with millions of water depressions called crab or melon holes.
“Boasting 355mm of rainfall, Koonaburra has a double frontage for over 20km of Sandy Creek. The entire resort is watered by huge flood systems – a dozen lakes, hoods and winding waterways.
“Koonaburra Station was once part of the giant Keewong Station pastoral lease established in the early 1800s that handled Merino sheep.
“Paroo Darling National Park is located about 50 km to the northwest, and Yathong Nature Reserve is about 55 km to the southeast.
“It features some of the farm’s original buildings, including the mowing shed, the original freestanding and renovated meat shed, and the old harness and stroller shed.”
The conservation movement has welcomed the addition of 167,000 hectares of arid zone ecosystems to the state’s national parks domain.
“Mr. Kean has made a significant contribution to the conservation area since becoming Minister of the Environment in 2019, adding 520,000 ha in just over two years,” said Chris Gambian, Chief Executive Officer of the Council for nature conservation.
“We always welcome new parks, but this is especially important because of their scale and the range of ecosystems and species they will protect.
“By securing this property, Minister Kean has more than doubled his pledge to add 200,000 ha to the reserve system.
“The arid and semi-arid ecosystems of the Far West are among the most poorly protected in the state,” said Gambian. “These additions will go some way to filling this gap. ”