The Hunter Region commonly known as the Hunter Valley, is a region of New South Wales, extending from 120 km to 310 km north of Sydney. It contains its tributaries with highland areas to the north and south. Situated at the northern end of the Sydney Basin bioregion, the Hunter Valley is one of the largest river valleys on the NSW coast, is most known for its wineries and coal industry. Most of the population of the Hunter Region lives within 25 km of the coast, with 55% of the entire population living in the cities of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. There are numerous other towns and villages scattered across the region in the eleven local government areas that make up the region. At the 2011 census the combined population of the region was 620,530. Under Australia's wine appellation system, the Hunter Valley wine zone Australian Geographical Indication covers the entire catchment of the Hunter River and its tributaries. Within that, the Hunter region is as large, includes most of the wine-producing areas, excluding the metropolitan area of Newcastle and nearby coastal areas, some national parks, any land, in the Mudgee Shire.
The Hunter wine region is one of Australia's best known wine regions, playing a pivotal role in the history of Australian wine as one of the first wine regions planted in the early 19th century. The success of the Hunter Valley wine industry has been dominated by its proximity to Sydney with its settlement and plantings in the 19th century fuelled by the trade network that linked the valley to the city; the steady demand of consumers from Sydney continues to drive much of the Hunter Valley wine industry, including a factor in the economy by the tourism industry. While the Hunter Valley has been supplanted by the massive Riverina wine region as the largest producer of New South Wales wine, it still accounts for around 3% of Australia's total wine production and is one of the country's most recognisable regions. For over 30,000 years the Wonnarua tribe of Aboriginal Australians inhabited the land, now known as the Hunter Valley wine region. Along with the Worimi to the north and the Awabakal to the south, the Wonnarua developed a trading route connecting the Coquun Valley to the harbour now known as Sydney harbour.
The wine-making history of Hunter Valley begins with the European settlement of the Sydney and the New South Wales region of Australia in the late 18th century as a penal colony of the British Empire. The Hunter River itself was discovered, by accident, in 1797 by British Lieutenant John Shortland as he searched for escaped convicts; the region soon became a valuable source for timber and coal that fuelled the steamship trade coming out of Sydney. Land prospector John Howe cut a path through the Australian wilderness from Sydney up to the overland area in what is now known as the Hunter Valley proper in 1820. Today, the modern Putty Road between the cities of Windsor and Singleton follows Howe's exact path and is a major thoroughfare for wine tourists coming into the Hunter Valley from Sydney; as previous plantings in the coastal areas around Sydney succumbed to the humidity and wetness, plantings to the west were limited by spring frost damage, northern reaches leading to the Hunter became by default, the wine region of the new colony.
The expansive growth of the Hunter Valley in the mid to late 19th century came directly from its monopoly position of the lucrative Sydney market. The provincial government of New South Wales had enacted regulations that placed prohibitive duties on wines from other areas such as Victoria and South Australia. Following World War I, many returning Australian veterans were given land grants in the Hunter Valley; this temporarily produced an up-tick in plantings but the global Great Depression as well as a series of devastating hail storms between 1929–30 caused many growers to abandon their vineyards. The Hunter Region is considered a transitional area between the Paleozoic rock foundation of the New England Fold Belt located to the south and the Early Permian and Middle Triassic period rock formations of the Sydney Basin to the south. Between these two geological areas is the Hunter-Mooki Thrust fault. At one time this fault was geologically active and gave rise to the Brokenback range that feature prominently in the Hunter region.
Strips of basalt found throughout the region bear witness to the volcanic activity that has occurred in the history of this fault. The Permian rocks in the central and southeastern expanse of the Lower Hunter Valley were formed when the area was underneath a shallow marine estuary; the remnants of this period has left an extensive network of coal seams that fuelled the early population boom of the Hunter Valley in the 19th century as well a high degree of salinity in the water table of much of the area. The further north and west, towards the Brokenback Range and the Upper Hunter, the more Triassic sandstone that can be found leading to the carboniferous rocks that form the northern boundary of the Hunter with the New England Fold Belt and the foothills of the Barrington Tops. Overall, the Hunter Valley has more soils that are unsuitable for viticulture than they have areas that are ideal for growing grapes; the soils of the Lower Hunter vary from sandy alluvial flats, to deep friable loam and friable red duplex soils.
In the Upper Hunter, the rivers and creeks of the region contribute to the areas black, silty loam soils that are overlaid on top of alkaline clay loam. Among the hills of the Brokenback range are strips of volcanic basalt that are prized b
World Heritage Site
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization as having cultural, scientific or other form of significance, is protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance, it may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet. The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones; the list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 "states parties" that are elected by their General Assembly.
The programme catalogues and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund; the program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program; as of July 2018, a total of 1,092 World Heritage Sites exist across 167 countries. Italy, with 54 sites, has the most of any country, followed by China, France, Germany and Mexico. In 1954, the government of Egypt decided to build the new Aswan High Dam, whose resulting future reservoir would inundate a large stretch of the Nile valley containing cultural treasures of ancient Egypt and ancient Nubia. In 1959, the governments of Egypt and Sudan requested UNESCO to assist their countries to protect and rescue the endangered monuments and sites.
In 1960, the Director-General of UNESCO launched an appeal to the member states for an International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia. This appeal resulted in the excavation and recording of hundreds of sites, the recovery of thousands of objects, as well as the salvage and relocation to higher ground of a number of important temples, the most famous of which are the temple complexes of Abu Simbel and Philae; the campaign, which ended in 1980, was considered a success. As tokens of its gratitude to countries which contributed to the campaign's success, Egypt donated four temples: the Temple of Dendur was moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Temple of Debod was moved to the Parque del Oeste in Madrid, the Temple of Taffeh was moved to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in the Netherlands, the Temple of Ellesyia to Museo Egizio in Turin; the project cost $80 million, about $40 million of, collected from 50 countries. The project's success led to other safeguarding campaigns: saving Venice and its lagoon in Italy, the ruins of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, the Borobodur Temple Compounds in Indonesia.
UNESCO initiated, with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a draft convention to protect the common cultural heritage of humanity. The United States initiated the idea of cultural conservation with nature conservation; the White House conference in 1965 called for a "World Heritage Trust" to preserve "the world's superb natural and scenic areas and historic sites for the present and the future of the entire world citizenry". The International Union for Conservation of Nature developed similar proposals in 1968, they were presented in 1972 to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. Under the World Heritage Committee, signatory countries are required to produce and submit periodic data reporting providing the World Heritage Committee with an overview of each participating nation's implementation of the World Heritage Convention and a "snapshot" of current conditions at World Heritage properties. A single text was agreed on by all parties, the "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.
The Convention came into force on 17 December 1975. As of May 2017, it has been ratified by 193 states parties, including 189 UN member states plus the Cook Islands, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. Only four UN member states have not ratified the Convention: Liechtenstein, Nauru and Tuvalu. A country must first list its significant natural sites. A country may not nominate sites. Next, it can place sites selected from that list into a Nomination File; the Nomination File is evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union. These bodies make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee; the Committee meets once per year to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List and sometimes defers or refers the decision to request more information from the country which nominated the site. There are ten selection criteria – a site must meet at least one of them to be included on the list
Broke, New South Wales
Broke is a village of 292 people in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia in Singleton Shire. It is located 157 kilometres to the north of Sydney on the original early colonial road from Sydney to Singleton; the Broke area is well known for its boutique wine production and is referred to as the'Broke-Fordwich' wine region There is substantial open-cut and underground coal mining in the area between Broke and Singleton. The village holds an annual fair in September. Broke contains a primary school, a Catholic church, an Anglican church and a service station with store and post office; the brick house on the south side of the store is lock-up. The south side of Broke provides views across properties to the Broken Back Range, the most conspicuous feature of, the sandstone formation known as Yellow Rock. Explorers first reached the Broke area in 1818 and land grants followed in 1824. John Blaxland received a grant because he had found a route to the Hunter Valley, while grants went to George Blaxland and Robert Rodd.
The village was given its name by Major Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor General, who used the name of his English friend Sir Charles Broke-Vere. John Blaxland had built a mill at the nearby Fordwich by 1860. Six years Broke had an Anglican church, a farm implements workshop and a school; the Great North Road became the main stock route to Sydney. This amount of activity meant that by the late 1800s Broke had several hotels, a post office, a school, a mill, two churches, a hall, a brick kiln, a butchery and blacksmith. However, it was not to last; the railways replaced the Great North Road as the main route between Sydney and the Hunter, which meant a drastic drop in traffic through Broke. A railway service between Wollombi and Singleton was never constructed. Broke reverted to being the quiet village it had been. However, a number of significant buildings have survived from the early days, they include the original post office, the village hall, public school, Anglican church and Catholic church, the old police station and the remains of the Blaxland Homestead on Broke Road.
In the 2016 Census, there were 239 people in Broke. 87.1% of people were born in Australia and 96.6% of people spoke only English at home. 12 kilometres north-west of Broke is an 80-hectare site containing rock shelters with several Aboriginal paintings, which are thought to depict Baiame, the Sky Father who created the world through his dreaming. The site, on private property, is popularly known as Baiame Cave and is on the Register of the National Estate. Broke Fordwich Wine Region Nightingale Wines – Award Winning Vineyard located in The Broke Fordwich Wine Region
Singleton, New South Wales
Singleton is a town on the banks of the Hunter River in New South Wales, Australia. Singleton is 197 kilometres north-north-west of Sydney, 80 kilometres northwest of Newcastle. At June 2015, Singleton had an urban population of 16,921. Singleton's main urban area includes the town centre, Singleton Heights, Darlington, The Retreat, Wattle Ponds and Hunterview. Surrounding rural villages include Broke, Jerrys Plains, Goorangoola/Greenlands and Belford. Singleton is located on the north-eastern part of the geological structure known as the Sydney basin, which borders the New England region. Singleton was established in the 1820s. In its early years, it was called Patrick's Plains; the Main Northern railway line reached Singleton in 1863 and was the end of the line until 1869. The town retains many historic buildings, including the original court house built in 1841, various large churches and many traditional Australian pubs; the countryside surrounding Singleton contains an unusual number of fine old mansions, reflecting the aristocratic nature of land grants when the area was settled.
They include'Neotsfield', the elaborate'Baroona','Abbey Green' and stunning'Minimbah'. Singleton was subject to the major flooding of the Hunter River in 1955, causing extensive damage to the town; when the area was being settled, the government attempted to create a town at Whittingham in a flood-free area, but the town grew by the river nonetheless. An embankment was constructed following the 1955 floods to help protect the town against any future flooding. Singleton has a humid subtropical climate with cool drier winters; the town is located at the junction of the New England Putty Road. The Golden Highway branches northwest from the New England Highway ten kilometres south of Singleton. Singleton is served by local and long-distance rail services. Singleton railway station on the Main Northern railway line is located at the southern end of the town centre. There are bus services, both intercity and local. A bypass for the New England Highway is planned to divert traffic from Singleton, more than 26,000 vehicles travel through Singleton daily, the environmental assessment and concept design are open to public feedback in 2019.
Major industries near Singleton include coal mining, electricity generation, light industry, horse breeding and cattle production. Dairying has declined; the largest employment industry is coal mining. Defence is the second largest employer with 4 percent of the workforce; the Lone Pine army barracks is located 8 kilometres south of Singleton. The Singleton Argus is a bi-weekly newspaper, established in 1874, it is owned and published by Fairfax Media. The weekly newspaper that serves Singleton and the Hunter Valley is The Hunter Valley News, along with the Newcastle Herald newspaper, is published by Fairfax Media. Radio Stations serving both Newcastle and the Hunter Valley can be received in Singleton. Singleton is part of the Newcastle-Hunter Region television market, served by 5 television networks, three commercial and two national services. Sundial. Singleton is home to one of the world's largest sundials, presented by a local coal mine for the 1988 Bicentennial Celebrations. Wineries; the town is close to the famous Pokolbin wine region.
There are many wineries in the shire around Broke. Boating. Lake St Clair is an artificial lake located to the north of the town, with facilities for boating and camping. National Parks. Wollemi and Yengo National Parks are located south of the town via the Putty Road. Barrington Tops National Park borders the north of the shire. Museums. Singleton has three main museums, the Singleton Historic Society Museum in Burdekin Park, the Royal Australian Infantry Corps Museum at the nearby barracks and the Mercy Convent Museum'Sacred Spaces' within the grounds of the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy. Singleton has a number of heritage-listed sites, including: 25 Dangar Road: Singleton District Hospital 25-27 George Street: Singleton Post Office 88 George Street: Ewbank Main Northern railway: Singleton railway station Queen Street: St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church Cemetery Singleton is home to a number of educational facilities; these include schools operated by NSW Department of Education and two non-government schools at both Primary and Secondary levels.
St Catherine's Catholic College provides classes from kindergarten to year 12, while Australian Christian College has classes from pre-kindergarten to year 10. Schools operated by NSW Department of Education include: Broke Public School Jerrys Plains Public School King Street Public School Milbrodale Public School Mount Pleasant Public School Singleton Heights Public School Singleton Public School Singleton High SchoolHunter Institute of TAFE operates a campus in Singleton, it provides training and further education as well as collaborating with secondary schools for students completing Senior years. Australian country music matriarch Joy McKean was born in Singleton in 1930. Rugby league players: Sean Rudder, Kerrod Holland and Rugby Union player Josh Valentine. Former Premier of New South Wales, Sir Charles Wade was born in Singleton, serving as premier from 1907-1910. Queensland politician Charles Dutton, was born in Singleton. 2016 Dakar Rally champion Toby Price lives in Singleton. Playwright Wendy Richardson OAM was born in Single
Wollombi, New South Wales
Wollombi is a small village in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia. It is within the Cessnock City Council LGA, situated 29 kilometres southwest of Cessnock and 128 km north of Sydney. To the south is the village of Laguna, to the east, the village of Millfield and to the north, the village of Broke; the valley is bordered to the west by the World Heritage listed Yengo National Park and the main road, the convict-built Great North Road forms one of the major legs of the Greater Blue Mountains Drive. To the east lie Watagans National Park along with Corrabare and Olney State Forests. Wollombi's modest modern size is offset by its 19th-century sandstone buildings and timber slab constructed cottages and sheds in a narrow valley junction containing Wollombi Brook and Congewai Creek. Narone and Yango Creeks join these waterways near the village; the area is home to an abundance of native birds and other animals including kangaroos, wallabies and wombats and is surrounded by imposing tree-lined mountains.
The traditional custodians of the locality are believed to be the Darkinjung people, though the Awabakal and Wonnarua nations are mentioned. The town's name is an Aboriginal term said to mean'meeting place of the waters' or simply'meeting place', it was pronounced'Wu-lum-bee', though today it is pronounced Wo - lum - bi. There is a vast number of historic Aboriginal sites in the surrounding countryside, thought to have been used as a ceremonial meeting place as people from hundreds of kilometres visited the area and made their way to Mount Yengo - a place of great significance throughout the ancient nations of eastern Australia. There are rock engravings, sharpening grooves, hand stencils, tribal markings and other images in caves and outcrops, frequent evidence of camping sites along the Brook and its tributary creeks, two major mapping sites containing many engravings; the establishment and significance of the township of Wollombi was directly connected with the construction and importance of the Great Northern Road in the early 19th century.
The Howes Valley Rd was completed in 1823, but travel along it was thought to be too difficult to be a success commercially. Major Thomas Mitchell - Surveyor-General - formulated the idea of an inland route to open up transport to regions in northern NSW. Heneage Finch, who settled in Laguna, surveyed the route for the Great Northern Road via Castle Hill, Wisemans Ferry, St Albans and Wollombi. At Wollombi, the road diverged toward Singleton and Muswellbrook to the north, Cessnock and Maitland to the north east. Hundreds of convicts began building the road from Castle Hill to Wollombi. One group was headquartered at Castle Hill, they began work on the section of road south of the Hawkesbury. A second group, of 119 men, worked from Newcastle in two road parties, one between Newcastle and Wallis Plains and the other between Wallis Plains and Wollombi. Road construction commenced in 1826 and was completed in 1831. Remnants such as stone culverts and retaining walls remain in the area between Wisemans Ferry and Wollombi, are catalogued and cared for by The Convict Trail Project.
During the years before the GNR was commenced, only a few large land grants were allocated along Cockfighter's Creek or the lower Wollombi Brook, to John Blaxland and - Rodd at Fordwich, Heneage Finch at Laguna and Thomas Crawford at Congewai. Richard Wiseman received 640 acres near Wollombi. After 1830 the holdings in the Wollombi Valley were about 100 acres. Surveyor GB White surveyed the village reserve at Wollombi into sections and allotments in 1833. A horseman who travelled from Sydney to Patrick's Plains in 1827 along the line of road in progress took three days for the journey – the first day to Wiseman's Ferry - 49 miles; the second day to'the head of the Wollombi' - 40 mi, the third day to Patrick's Plains - 36 mi, made a total of 125 mi. The settlement developed as a centre for the farming community and for travellers on the Great North Road. On 12 June 1831, the steamship'Sophie Jane' sailed from Sydney to the port of Morpeth on the Hunter River in eleven and a half hours. With the speed and carrying capacity of the ship far surpassing that of road transport to the Hunter region, the commercial significance of the Great Northern Road diminished.
By the early 1840s, the inns operating at intervals along the Great North Road and its branch toward Maitland were Wiseman's at the Ferry, Wiseman's Inn at the head of the Wollombi Valley, Traveller's Test at Laguna, Governor Gipps at Wollombi, Rising Sun at Millfield and the Cock Inn on Cockfighter Creek. The foundation stone of Saint Michael's Catholic Church was laid near the Congewai Creek crossing in 1840 but the church was moved to its present location following severe damage in the 1893 flood. St John's Anglican Church was built in 1846; the Wollombi Telegraph Office opened in 1860, the former Police station and Courthouse was built c1866, the stone School building c1881 and the timber General Store is well over a century old. By 1850 the village had an Anglican and Catholic Church, a flour mill, a village cemetery and its own District Council. By 1851 the
Ebenezer, New South Wales
Ebenezer is a historic town in New South Wales, Australia, in the local government area of the City of Hawkesbury. Ebenezer is located 69 kilometres north-west of Sydney and about 5 kilometres from the larger centre of Wilberforce, it sits on the banks of the Hawkesbury River and like typical early 19th century villages in NSW, it straggles along the roads rather than compactly around a village centre. The town was named after Eben-Ezer in the Bible, 1 Samuel 7:12, wherein Samuel set up a stone between Mizpah and Shen and gave the name to Ebenezer; the Ebenezer Church is listed on the New South Wales Heritage Register. Ebenezer Uniting Church, on the banks of the Hawkesbury River, was a Presbyterian chapel, the oldest standing church building in Australia; the area was settled in 1803 by a number of free settler families who sailed to Australia on the Coromandel in 1802. These settlers worshipped under a local gum tree, which still exists on the opposite side of the road from the church. James Mein, an elder of Galashiels Kirk started holding informal services in his house at Portland and from these meetings grew a desire to build the church at Ebenezer.
One of the important families in the area was the Grono family, early boat builders who built boats up to 200 tons on the Hawkesbury. They and other local families. Mostly Scots who had emigrated from London, assisted in building a simple sandstone church, cut from sandstone along the banks of the river; the church was built in 1808-09 but not fitted out until 1817. Its restoration has been done with recognition of the church's importance and is still used for Sunday services. More like a crofter's cottage than a church, the stone entrance porch was added in 1929 and the eastern vestry in 1966; the cedar bookcase in the porch belonged to the first minister, Dr John McGarvie, who lived in Ebenezer from 1826-1831. The first burial in 1812 was in the churchyard cemetery. Coffins were brought to the church by the river, with boatloads of mourners joining the funeral procession as it was rowed along the Hawkesbury; the cemetery is one of the most important in Australia with six generations buried in its grounds, including some of the first free settlers in the colony.
The school at Ebenezer was opened in 1810 under the headmastership of John Youl, a layman of the Anglican Church. It operated out of the church until the 1880s; when this burnt down shortly afterwards, the school returned to the church. The building was a school during the week and a chapel on Sunday until the present public school opened in 1902. A schoolmaster's residence was built in 1817, it is now the oldest existing school building in Australia. The former schoolmaster's residence is used to serve Devonshire teas and has a small ‘museum’ of photos and furniture, with records of the settlers from the Coomandel. Ebenezer Public School, built in 1902, is now a Primary school with enrolments about 120. John Turnbull's House is on Old Port Eringhi Road, not far from Ebenezer Church and Schoolhouse and off Tizzana Road, this wonderful old sandstone 2 storey home is alongside new houses opposite the old golf course at the end of the road. Only the top of John's old 2 storey home can be seen from the road, since rampant vines and trees block the view.
The front part of the home and the wall facing the old golf course was built about 1807, with the remainder completed about 1810. Lewis Jones, a stonemason was responsible for the construction of the home, as there appears to be a close connection between Jones & Ralph Turnbull the eldest son of Pioneer John Turnbull, his home is built on an 1803 land grant to John Turnbull, an enthusiastic supporter of the church at Ebenezer. Famous Presbyterian minister, John Dunmore Lang, used the house when he preached at Ebenezer in 1823-24, it has been only restored. At either end of the home, two huge fireplaces were constructed, close to 2 metres in height. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 968. 360 deg panorama of church and cemetery Photo of church An historical account of the church
Greater Blue Mountains Area
The Greater Blue Mountains Area is a World Heritage Site in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. The 1,032,649-hectare area was inscribed on the World Heritage List at the 24th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Cairns in 2000; this area is one of rugged tablelands, sheer cliffs, inaccessible valleys and rivers and lakes teeming with life. The rare plants and animals that live in this natural place relate an extraordinary story of Australia's antiquity, its diversity of life; this is the story of the evolution of Australia's unique eucalypt vegetation and its associated communities and animals. The Greater Blue Mountains Area consists of 10,300 square kilometres of forested landscape on a sandstone plateau 60 to 180 kilometres inland from the Sydney central business district; the area includes vast expanses of wilderness and is equivalent in area to one third of Belgium, or twice the size of Brunei. The area is called "Blue Mountains" based on the fact that when atmospheric temperature rise, the essential oil of various eucalyptus species evaporates and disperse in the air visible blue spectrum of sunlight propagates more than other colours.
Therefore, the reflected landscape from mountains seems bluish by human eyes. The property, which includes eight protected areas in two blocks separated by a transportation and urban development corridor, is made up of seven outstanding national parks as well as the famous Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve; these are the Blue Mountains National Park, Wollemi National Park, Yengo National Park, Nattai National Park, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Gardens of Stone National Park and Thirlmere Lakes National Park. The area does not contain mountains in the conventional sense but is described as a incised sandstone plateau rising from less than 100 metres above sea level to 1,300 metres at the highest point. There are basalt outcrops on the higher ridges; this plateau is thought to have enabled the survival of a rich diversity of plant and animal life by providing a refuge from climatic changes during recent geological history. It is noted for its wide and balanced representation of eucalypt habitats from wet and dry sclerophyll, mallee heathlands, as well as localised swamps and grassland.
Ninety-one species of eucalypts occur in the Greater Blue Mountains Area. Twelve of these are believed to occur only in the Sydney sandstone region; the area has been described as a natural laboratory for studying the evolution of the eucalypts. The largest area of high diversity of eucalypts on the continent is located in south-east Australia; the Greater Blue Mountains Area includes much of this eucalypt diversity. As well as supporting such a significant proportion of the world's eucalypt species, the area provides examples of the range of structural adaptations of the eucalypts to Australian environments; these vary from tall forests at the margins or rainforest in the deep valleys, through open forests and woodlands, to shrublands of stunted mallees on the exposed tablelands. In addition to its outstanding eucalypts, the Greater Blue Mountains Area contains ancient, relict species of global significance; the most famous of these is the discovered Wollemi pine, a "living fossil" dating back to the age of the dinosaurs.
Thought to have been extinct for millions of years, the few surviving trees of this ancient species are known only from three small populations located in remote, inaccessible gorges within the area. The Wollemi pine is one of the world's rarest species. More than 400 different kinds of animals live within the rugged gorges and tablelands of the Greater Blue Mountains Area; these include threatened or rare species of conservation significance, such as the tiger quoll, the koala, the yellow-bellied glider and the long-nosed potoroo as well as rare reptiles and amphibians including the green and golden bell frog and the Blue Mountain water skink. The largest predator of the area is the dingo; these wild dogs hunt for grey kangaroos and other prey. The greater Blue Mountains region has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it supports a high proportion of the global populations of the range-restricted rockwarbler as well as populations of flame robins, diamond firetails and pilotbirds.
The endangered regent honeyeater is seen there regularly. It is a migration bottleneck for yellow-faced honeyeaters; the Greater Blue Mountains Area was unanimously listed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO on 29 November 2000. It thus became the fourth area in New South Wales to be listed; the area totals 10,300 square kilometres, including the Blue Mountains, Kanangra-Boyd, Gardens of Stone, Yengo and Thirlmere Lakes National Parks, plus the Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve. A buffer zone of 86,200 hectares lies outside the protected area. Blue Mountains virtual video tour. Nomination of the Greater Blue Mountains Area for inscription on the World Heritage List by the Government of Australia 1998 Greater Blue Mountains Area at UNESCO World Heritage Centre Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Aerial video of the Jamison Valley below Katoomba