South West Queensland
South West Queensland is a remote region in the Australian state of Queensland which covers 319,808 km2. The region lies to the south of Central West Queensland and west of the Darling Downs and includes the Maranoa district and parts of the Channel Country; the area is noted for its cattle cotton farming, opal mining and oil and gas deposits. At the federal level the whole region is encompassed by the Division of Maranoa. Local Government areas included in the region are Maranoa Region, Shire of Balonne, Shire of Paroo, Shire of Murweh, Shire of Bulloo and the Shire of Quilpie. South West Queensland has a population of 26,489; the region is serviced by the ABC Western Queensland radio station. Aboriginal society traded objects based on need; the South West region of Queensland was the primary source of the traded plant Duboisia hopwoodii, from which a traditional chewing tobacco was made. Eastern parts of the region around the upper reaches of the Warrego River were explored by Thomas Mitchell in 1845.
It wasn't until after William Landsborough explored the area during his 1862 expedition that settlers began to take up pastoral runs. In 1860, Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills began an expedition from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria to explore large areas of inland Australia which remained unknown to the European settlers. A pivotal meeting place or depôt camp used by the expedition was located at Bullah Bullah Waterhole on Cooper Creek. After failing to reach the northern coastline due to the mangrove swamps of the Flinders River delta the party of four set off for the return journey short on supplies. Charles Gray died on the way leaving three of the party who managed to return to Cooper Creek on 21 April 1861, only to find the other half of the party had just left for Menindee nine hours earlier. A tree at the camp was used to mark the location of a food cache, it became the resting place for Burke who died of malnourishment after they ran low on supplies amid controversial and tragic circumstances.
Wills died from weakness and malnourishment downstream at Breerily Waterhole. John King was the sole survivor of the party; the expedition's journals and maps inspired pastoralists and opened up of vast tracts of Queensland to pastoral settlement. Western parts of the region receive an average of 150 mm annual rainfall. Further east around St. George, receives an average of 500 mm per year. Limited access to water in the region restricted early pastoralism. After artesian bore water had been discovered and developed the lands were able to support sheep and not just cattle. A Cobb & Co factory and was built at Charleville in 1893. During the 1880s coach services expanded into the region. Cobb & Co was Australia's most famous historical coaching firm and once provided passenger and mail services across the country, they produced an eight-passenger coach that gained repute for its strength and the forgiving suspension. In 1922, QANTAS began its first regular flights from Charleville; the northern extent of the Sturt Stony Desert lies within the region around the location known as Cameron Corner.
Part of the Cooper Basin is located in the region. The basin contains natural gas deposits in Australia. Near Roma at Hospital Hill, Australia's first natural gas strike was made. Oil was found in the region in 1961; the Eromanga Basin located in South West Queensland has been explored and developed for petroleum production. Commercial quantities of gas were first discovered in 1976 and oil in 1978; the Tookoonooka crater is a large impact crater located in the region, however it is not visible at the surface. Major towns of South West Queensland include Charleville, Augathella, Thargomindah, St George and Cunnamulla. Cunnamulla has the biggest wool-loading station on the Queensland railway network. Australia's largest cotton farm, Cubbie Station near St George, covers 93,000 hectares. Smaller towns in the region include Amby, Jackson, Muckadilla, Surat, Yuleba, Bollon, Dirranbandi, Mungindi, Thallon, Eulo, Tuen, Yowah, Bakers Bend, Nive, Thargomindah, Noccundra, Norley, Quilpie, Cheepie and Toompine.
Cooladdi is a ghost town with a population of just six. Historical geographical records have suggested changes in the flow of local tertiary sandstone springs have occurred since the 1880s. Blasting was used to enhance spring flow and causing its destruction as with bores and dams. Only 45% of springs that were documented in the south west queensland records, remain. Waterways coursing through South West Queensland include the Warrego, Merivale and its tributary the Bokhara River, Culgoa and Cooper Creek; the Balonne is used for an extensive irrigation network. The Bulloo River system is the only closed river system in Australia. A number of national parks have been declared in the region, including Alton National Park, Chesterton Range National Park, Culgoa Floodplain National Park, Currawinya National Park, Diamantina National Park, Idalia National Park, Lake Bindegolly National Park, Mariala National Park, Thrushton National Park and Tregole National Park. Bowra Sanctuary is a nature reserve near Cunnamulla, managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.
Major roads in the region include the Mitchell Highway out of outback New South Wales and the Balonne Highway which travels east from St George to Cunnamulla. The Warrego Highway travels in an east/west direction across the north of the region; the northern tip of the Castlerea
Mount Walsh National Park
Mount Walsh is a national park in Queensland, Australia, 230 km northwest of Brisbane. A prominent landmark in the Biggenden region is the granite bluff area of Mount Walsh which rises to 703 m above sea leven in the northern part of park; the summit has three peaks. Exposed granite outcrops, rugged ridges and steep forested slopes support a range of vegetation; the "Bluff" area of Mount Walsh is located at the park’s northern end and is a prominent landmark of the Biggenden area. The park features sheltered gullies, rugged ridge lines with mountain areas with spectacular exposed granite outcrops and cliffs support a diversity of vegetation; such diversity gives a home to many endangered animal species such as the powerful owl and grey goshawk. Visitors may see peregrine falcons, wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos and lace monitors. A complex landscape has led to diverse vegetation communities which includes heath, woodland, open forest and dry forest. There are patches of hoop pines in some gullies.
The geological history of the mountain began in the late Triassic period about 215 million years ago. Violent explosions emanated from a volcanic structure referred to as the Mungore Centre. Two large bodies of magma rose close to the surface where Mount Malarga and Mount Walsh are presently situated. Erosion has left the cliffs, gorges rocky pavements and tors seen today. Picnic and barbecue facilities are available. Bush camping is allowed in the park. No facilities are provided so visitors must be self-sufficient. A 300 metre trail from the picnic area leads visitors through open eucalypt forest to a rocky creek gully fringed in rain forest on to lookouts over surrounding countryside. Experienced walkers can take the strenuous two and a half hour hike to Mount Walsh's bare granite summit. You will be rewarded with stunning views. Protected areas of Queensland Rocks and Landscape Notes: Mount Walsh, Biggenden - Geological Society of Australia: Queensland Division
Byfield National Park
Byfield is a national park in the Shire of Livingstone, Australia. The park is 70 km north-east of Rockhampton; the parks encloses 12 km of coastline including four beaches. To the north of the national park is Shoalwater Bay and Byfield State Forest is located to the west of Byfield National Park; the park contains a number of camping areas. Water Park Creek within the park contains a population of Rhadinocentrus ornatus, a small freshwater fish species; the park demarcates the southern boundary of a tropical savannah climate, although the subtropics are a degree to the south. Protected areas of Queensland
Deepwater National Park
Deepwater is a coastal national park in Queensland, Australia, 375 km north of Brisbane. It protects coastal heaths in the Deepwater Creek catchment; the area is one of the few remaining pristine freshwater catchments on Queensland's east coast. Deepwater National Park covers 4,090 ha; the north of the park is dominated by a 70 m high sand dune, covered in vegetation. There are some scattered rocky outcrops of volcanic origin including a number of rocky headlands along the park's 9 km of beach frontage. Vegetation in the park is varied between the landward side of the high dune. To the east are typical beach plants, on the exposed higher areas the plants appear wind-sheared and to the west in more protected area taller vegetation has formed up to three canopy levels of forest and woodlands. Beaches in the park are used for nesting by leatherback turtles. Flatback and green turtles nest on the park's beaches; this location is the only mainland site where leatherbacks return to lay eggs. Rose-crowned fruit doves, fairy gerygones and grey fantails are found in the canopies to the west.
Along the beaches pied oystercatcher, bar-tailed godwits and crested terns are seen. Emus and brahminy kites can be found in the park. Queensland's largest cockroach Macro-panesthia sp. is found in the park. Camping facilities, pit toilets and picnic tables are located at Wreck Rock, 5.5 km north of the park's southern boundary. A second camp site is located further north at Middle Rock, however there are no facilities here. Picnic facilities for day visitors is provided at Flat Rock. No domestic animals or open fires are permitted in the park; the park is accessible from the south through Wartburg. Conventional vehicle access possible in the dry season only. Alternative access is possible from the north through Agnes Water. A 4WD vehicle is recommended for this route due to the slope. Protected areas of Queensland
Taunton National Park
Taunton National Park is situated near the town of Dingo 135 km inland from Rockhampton in eastern Central Queensland, Australia. The park encompasses an area of 11,626 ha within the Northern Brigalow Belt bioregion of Queensland. Taunton National Park is designated as a scientific nature reserve due to its importance in ensuring the ongoing survival and protection of the endangered bridled nail-tail wallaby; the wallabies protection has facilitated natural regeneration processes within reserve boundaries, protected ecosystem communities from further agricultural disturbances in the surrounding landscape, provided habitats for native fauna and helped conserve a wide range of biodiversity. Cracking clay soils and brigalow vegetation species are dominant in the northern region of the park, while texture-contrast soils in combination with Eucalypt communities dominate the western region; the parks topography is reasonably with a gradual slope from the north and western ends of the park towards the eastern and southern margins.
The regions climate is described as semi-arid. The distribution of rainfall over such a condensed period leaves the area prone to droughts; the most recent drought of significance occurred between 1991 and 1995 with detrimental impacts on the surviving bridled nailtail wallaby population. As is typical of the tropical savannah in the Northern Brigalow Belt, a combination of open, grassy Eucalypt woodlands, transitional zones and regrowing Acacia shrub-lands and forests comprise Taunton National Parks main vegetation zones; the most common vegetation associations within the park and surrounding areas, tend to be dominated by either brigalow or poplar box species, which occur along with other Acacia and Ecualyptus spp. Water-bodies present within the park boundaries consist of a small number of creeks; the region in which Taunton National Park is located, was subject to long-term, wide-scale agricultural development and associated disturbances. During the 1950s and 1960s extensive clearance of brigalow scrub began to take place in order to establish pastoral grasses for grazing domestic sheep and cattle.
Buffel grass was sowed for fodder in the cleared areas, became irreversibly established. A governmental initiative called the'Brigalow Development Scheme' provided great incentive for increasing agricultural development in the Brigalow region and accelerated the rate and scale of vegetation clearance for conversion to buffel grass; the success of this scheme resulted in agricultural system adjustments so that more intensive land use practices became common, with smaller properties and higher stock numbers. The cumulative effects of this land use change resulted in a considerable reduction in remnant vegetation patch size and occurrence; this in turn reduced the availability of habitat and shelter for native fauna, altered the natural vegetation composition. In 1973 a bridled nail-tail wallaby was sighted on a cattle property named'Taunton' and reported by a fencing contractor. There had been reports of a significant decline in the wallabies population numbers during the early 1900s with no recorded sightings since the 1930s, subsequently the species had been presumed extinct.
Following this sighting, Taunton was purchased in 1979 and established as a scientific reserve to ensure the protection and survival of the endangered wallaby. In 1984, another cattle property'Red Hill', situated adjacent to Taunton, was added to the reserve and the whole area became named'Taunton National Park'; the park occurs in the Northern Brigalow'Tropical Savannah' ecoregion, so named for the predominant flora species of the region. Vegetation clearance throughout this district and in fact the whole Brigalow Belt, has resulted in an extensive loss of biodiversity and overall ecosystem degradation. Despite considerable regional agricultural and pastoral development, a large proportion of the park's vegetation remained intact or was exposed to minimal disturbance prior to the reserve being established; the park has high regional significance today as only 17% of vegetation within the park had been removed by 1975, thereby conserving once prevalent, regionally representative ecosystems and vegetation communities, which are now restricted to bush fragments and reserves.
The region that the park is located in has been demonstrated to have one of the highest rate of annual clearance, when compared with other subregions within Queensland. This high clearance rate has contributed to a number of Brigalow-typical ecosystems becoming otherwise at risk or endangered, which highlights the importance of the parks biodiversity, as 12 of the regions ecosystems are represented within the reserve. Endangered open forest or woodland ecosystems in the park include. Brigalow shrubland/forest assemblages of A. harpophylla with yellow-wood and false sandalwood, are endangered, having undergone wide-scale clearing throughout the 1900s. Ecosystem communities represented within the park which are considered to be'of concern' include.
Mount Archer National Park
Mount Archer National Park is a national park in Central Queensland, Australia, 522 kilometres northwest of Brisbane. It makes up the backdrop to the city of Rockhampton; the vegetation is open eucalypt woodland with patches of vine scrub. The rufous shrikethrush, white-browed scrubwren, powerful owl and glossy black cockatoo are some of the bird species found in the park. A road leads to the summit of Mount Archer, where there are a few bushwalking and rock climbing opportunities. Protected areas of Queensland Mount Archer National Park - Queensland Holidays
Main Range National Park
The Main Range is a mountain range and national park in Queensland, located predominantly in Tregony, Southern Downs Region, 85 kilometres southwest of Brisbane. It is part of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, it protects the western part of a semicircle of mountains in South East Queensland known as the Scenic Rim. This includes the largest area of rainforest in South East Queensland; the park is part of the Scenic Rim Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance in the conservation of several species of threatened birds. The park extends from Kangaroo Mountain, near Frazerview, south to Wilsons Peak on the New South Wales border and includes Mount Superbus, South East Queensland’s highest peak. Bare Rock, Mount Cordeaux, Mount Mitchell, Spicers Peak, Mount Huntley, Mount Asplenium, Mount Steamer, The Steamer Range, Lizard Point, Mount Roberts, Mount Mistake and Mount Superbus all lie within the Main Range National Park.
In total, there are more than 40 peaks higher than 1,000 m. There are walking tracks, camping areas and picnic facilities at a number of places such as Spicers Gap, Cunninghams Gap and Queen Mary Falls; the Main Range shield volcano erupted between 22 million years ago in the Tertiary period. Rather than forming a central peak, the volcano erupted through numerous basalt dykes that created horizontal lava flows; these flows now form the bulk of the Main Range, Little Liverpool Range and Mistake Range, once covered a much wider area that includes both the Lockyer Valley and Fassifern Valley. The steeper slopes have avoided any land clearing; the most predominant vegetation types on the range is sub-tropical rainforest and dry sclerophyll forest. The park’s forests and montane heath provide habitat for many animals, including the eastern bristlebird, Coxen's fig parrot, the black-breasted buttonquail, all of which are threatened by extinction; the vulnerable and rare red goshawk may be seen. The giant barred frog, Fleay's barred frog, spotted-tailed quoll and the Hastings River mouse are listed as endangered species, once more found in the Goomburra section of the park.
Spicers Gap is believed to be a traditional pathway for Indigenous Australians travelling between the inland and the coast. In 1828, Allan Cunningham'officially' discovered the route through the mountains now called Cunninghams Gap, however it can be seen from Brisbane. Stockman Henry Alphen discovered Spicers Gap in 1847; the Spicers Gap Road, used to carry supplies to and from the Darling Downs, is the best remaining example of sophisticated 19th century engineering in Queensland. In 1840, George Elphinstone Dalrymple settled in the Goomburra Valley. Dalrymple Creek was named after this early settler. By 1847, a new road through Spicers Gap was opening areas for settlers. In 1909, the area surrounding Cunninghams Gap was declared a national park. In 1994, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee extended the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia to include Goomburra Forest Reserve within Main Range National Park. In 2007, the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia was added to the Australian National Heritage List.
In 1994, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee extended the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia to include Goomburra Forest Reserve within Main Range National Park. In 2007, the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia was added to the Australian National Heritage List. Main Range National Park has a number of heritage-listed sites, including Spicers Gap Road now within the Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park McPherson Range Protected areas of Queensland Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park About Main Range, Queen Mary Falls