Western Australia is a state occupying the entire western third of Australia. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Southern Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east, South Australia to the south-east. Western Australia is Australia's largest state, with a total land area of 2,529,875 square kilometres, the second-largest country subdivision in the world, surpassed only by Russia's Sakha Republic; the state has about 2.6 million inhabitants – around 11 percent of the national total – of whom the vast majority live in the south-west corner, 79 per cent of the population living in the Perth area, leaving the remainder of the state sparsely populated. The first European visitor to Western Australia was the Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog, who visited the Western Australian coast in 1616; the first European settlement of Western Australia occurred following the landing by Major Edmund Lockyer on 26 December 1826 of an expedition on behalf of the New South Wales colonial government.
He established a convict-supported military garrison at King George III Sound, at present-day Albany, on 21 January 1827 formally took possession of the western third of the continent for the British Crown. This was followed by the establishment of the Swan River Colony in 1829, including the site of the present-day capital, Perth. York was the first inland settlement in Western Australia. Situated 97 kilometres east of Perth, it was settled on 16 September 1831. Western Australia achieved responsible government in 1890 and federated with the other British colonies in Australia in 1901. Today, its economy relies on mining, agriculture and tourism; the state produces 46 per cent of Australia's exports. Western Australia is the second-largest iron ore producer in the world. Western Australia is bounded to the east by longitude 129°E, the meridian 129 degrees east of Greenwich, which defines the border with South Australia and the Northern Territory, bounded by the Indian Ocean to the west and north.
The International Hydrographic Organization designates the body of water south of the continent as part of the Indian Ocean. The total length of the state's eastern border is 1,862 km. There are 20,781 km including 7,892 km of island coastline; the total land area occupied by the state is 2.5 million km2. The bulk of Western Australia consists of the old Yilgarn craton and Pilbara craton which merged with the Deccan Plateau of India and the Karoo and Zimbabwe cratons of Southern Africa, in the Archean Eon to form Ur, one of the oldest supercontinents on Earth. In May 2017, evidence of the earliest known life on land may have been found in 3.48-billion-year-old geyserite and other related mineral deposits uncovered in the Pilbara craton. Because the only mountain-building since has been of the Stirling Range with the rifting from Antarctica, the land is eroded and ancient, with no part of the state above 1,245 metres AHD. Most of the state is a low plateau with an average elevation of about 400 metres low relief, no surface runoff.
This descends sharply to the coastal plains, in some cases forming a sharp escarpment. The extreme age of the landscape has meant that the soils are remarkably infertile and laterised. Soils derived from granitic bedrock contain an order of magnitude less available phosphorus and only half as much nitrogen as soils in comparable climates in other continents. Soils derived from extensive sandplains or ironstone are less fertile, nearly devoid of soluble phosphate and deficient in zinc, copper and sometimes potassium and calcium; the infertility of most of the soils has required heavy application by farmers of fertilizers. These have resulted in damage to bacterial populations; the grazing and use of hoofed mammals and heavy machinery through the years have resulted in compaction of soils and great damage to the fragile soils. Large-scale land clearing for agriculture has damaged habitats for native fauna; as a result, the South West region of the state has a higher concentration of rare, threatened or endangered flora and fauna than many areas of Australia, making it one of the world's biodiversity "hot spots".
Large areas of the state's wheatbelt region have problems with dryland salinity and the loss of fresh water. The southwest coastal area has a Mediterranean climate, it was heavily forested, including large stands of karri, one of the tallest trees in the world. This agricultural region is one of the nine most bio-diverse terrestrial habitats, with a higher proportion of endemic species than most other equivalent regions. Thanks to the offshore Leeuwin Current, the area is one of the top six regions for marine biodiversity and contains the most southerly coral reefs in the world. Average annual rainfall varies from 300 millimetres at the edge of the Wheatbelt region to 1,400 millimetres in the wettest areas near Northcliffe, but from November to March, evaporation exceeds rainfall, it is very dry. Plants are adapted to this as well as the extreme poverty of all soils; the central two-thirds of the state is sparsely inhabited. The only significant economic activity is mining. Annual rainfall averages less than 300 millimetres, most of which occurs in sporadic torrential falls related to cyclone events in summer.
An exception to this is
Francois Peron National Park
Francois Peron National Park is a national park on the Peron Peninsula in Western Australia, 726 km north of Perth, located within the boundary of the Shark Bay World Heritage area. The nearest towns to the park are Denham, found on the southern edge of the park and Carnarvon, found about 80 kilometres to the north. Aboriginal Australians were the initial inhabitants of the area and have been living there for over 26,000 years; the local peoples who speak the Malgana language call the area Wulyibidi. It is named after the French naturalist and explorer François Péron, the zoologist aboard Nicolas Baudin's 1801 and 1803 scientific expeditions to Western Australia, is situated within the bounds of the earlier pastoral lease of the Peron Station. Locations from the French exploration era include: Guichenault Cape Lesueur Lake MontbazinA pearling camp was established on the peninsula at Herald Bight in the 1880s and the remains of the shells can still be found along the beach. Used as a sheep station from the early 1900s onwards the station was sold to the state government in 1990.
It was gazetted on 8 January 1993 as a National Park – through the purchase of Peron Station in 1990. It is adjacent to and surrounded by the Shark Bay Marine Park to the west and east, by the Denham to Monkey Mia road to the south. Picnic, boat launching and camping areas along the west coast of the Peninsula include: Big Lagoon Cape Lesueur Cattle Well South Gregories Gregories Bottle Bay List of protected areas of Western Australia Denham, Western Australia Monkey Mia Edward Duyker François Péron: An Impetuous Life: Naturalist and Voyager, Miegunyah/MUP, Melb. 2006, pp. 349, ISBN 978-0-522-85260-8. Francois Peron National Park page at the Department of Parks and Wildlife website Francois Peron National Park page at SharkBay.org Francois Peron National Park page at the Shire of Shark Bay website
Greenmount National Park
Greenmount National Park is a national park in the locality of Greenmount, Western Australia, 22 km east of Perth. It is one of the smaller National Parks along the Darling Scarp and is a component of the Darling Range Regional Park. Due to its proximity to John Forrest National Park, which used to be known as Greenmount National Park until 1928, relationship to subsequent reserves to the south it is a vital scarp wildlife corridor. Bus tours were available from Perth in 1933 with Hill's Bus Tours offering passengers a tour around the park on Sundays in September. Beam Transport Ltd. offered a similar service through the Park to Mundaring Weir in 1937. As a feature adjacent to the Helena River Valley it has significance in aboriginal folklore, featured early on in early European settler's diaries. Mountain Quarry, Western Australia is one of several blue stone quarries located within the park, popular with rock climbers and walkers. Vehicle access to the quarry site is restricted however a car-park and picnic facilities including toilets are within walking distance of the main site, accessible on foot.
There are several panels containing historical information about the site spread around as part of the popular Railway Reserves Heritage Trail which runs close to the quarry. The Boya/Koongamia leg of the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail known as the "Bridle Trail", curves around the south-western edge of the park, crossing through the Mountain Quarry car-park and picnic area. In the early 2000s significant bushfire damage occurred on the southern slopes of this park. Large fire-breaks dissect the park serving as popular walking routes among locals; the western and northern slopes, visible from Great Eastern Highway have extensive Watsonia infestations. In late 2005, the Government Authority in charge of the national park was taking steps to prevent vehicular access along the top of the ridge to the lookout due to non stop vandalism and issues with residents adjacent to the park; the park is situated along the side of Greenmount Hill and has majestic views over the Swan Coastal Plain below and Perth City below.
The dominant vegetation in the park is eucalypts such as Marri and Wandoo along with an array of wild flowers and heathland along the northern slopes. The hill contain several breakaways and rocky outcrops. Protected areas of Western Australia Western Australia. Dept. of Conservation and Land Management. A recreational development plan for-- Kalamunda National Park, Lesmurdie Falls National Park, Gooseberry Hill National Park, Greenmount National Park Como, W. A.: Conservation and Land Management, 1989
The quokka, Setonix brachyurus, the only member of the genus Setonix, is a small macropod about the size of a domestic cat. Like other marsupials in the macropod family, the quokka is herbivorous and nocturnal. Quokkas are found on some smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia Rottnest Island, just off Perth, Bald Island near Albany, in isolated scattered populations in forest and coastal heath between Perth and Albany. A small colony exists at the eastern limit of their range in a protected area of Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, where they co-exist with the critically endangered Gilbert's potoroo; the quokka weighs 2.5 to 5 kilograms and is 40 to 54 centimetres long with a 25-to-30-centimetre-long tail, quite short for a macropod. It has a stocky build, well developed hind legs, rounded ears, a short, broad head, its musculoskeletal system was adapted for terrestrial bipedal saltation but over its evolution its system has been built for arboreal locomotion. Although looking rather like a small kangaroo, it can climb small trees and shrubs up to 1.5 metres.
Its coarse fur is a grizzled brown colour, fading to buff underneath. The quokka is known to live for an average of ten years. Quokkas have a promiscuous mating system. After a month of gestation, females give birth to a single baby called a joey. Females can give birth twice a year and produce seventeen joeys during their lifespan; the joey lives in its mother’s pouch for six months. Once it leaves the pouch, the joey relies on its mother for milk for two more months and is weaned eight months after birth. Females sexually mature after 18 months; when a female quokka with a joey in her pouch is pursued by a predator, she may drop her baby onto the ground. The Dutch mariner Samuel Volckertzoon wrote of sighting "a wild cat" on Rottnest Island in 1658. In 1696, Willem de Vlamingh mistook them for giant rats and named the island "Rotte nest", which comes from the Dutch word Rattennest, meaning "rat nest"; the word quokka is derived from a Nyungar word, gwaga. In the wild, its roaming is restricted to a small range in the South-West of Western Australia, with a number of small scattered populations.
There is one large population on Rottnest Island and a smaller population on Bald Island near Albany. The islands are free of certain predators such as cats. On Rottnest, quokkas are common and occupy a variety of habitats ranging from semi-arid scrub to cultivated gardens. Prickly Acanthocarpus plants, which are unaccommodating for humans and other large animals to walk through, provide their favorite daytime shelter for sleeping. Additionally, they are known for their ability to climb trees. Like most macropods, quokkas eat many types including grasses and leaves. A study found that Guichenotia ledifolia, a small shrub species of the family Malvaceae, is one of the quokka's favoured foods. Rottnest Island visitors are urged to never feed quokkas, in part because eating "human food" can cause dehydration and malnourishment, both of which are detrimental to the quokka's health. Despite the relative lack of fresh water on Rottnest Island, quokkas do have high water requirements, which they satisfy through eating vegetation.
On the mainland quokkas only live in the areas. At the time of colonial settlement, the quokka was widespread and abundant with its distribution encompassing an area of about 41,200 km2 of south-west Western Australia, inclusive of the two offshore islands and Rottnest Island. Following extensive population declines in the twentieth century, by 1992 the quokka’s distribution on the mainland was reduced by more than 50% to an area of about 17,800 km2. Although numerous on the small offshore islands, the quokka is classified as vulnerable. On the mainland, where it is threatened by introduced predatory species such as foxes and dogs, it requires dense ground cover for refuge. Clearfell logging, agricultural development, housing expansion have reduced this habitat, thus contributing to the decline of the species, as has the clearing and burning of the remaining swamplands. Moreover, quokkas have a litter size of one and rear one young each year. Although these animals are mating one day after their young is born, the small litter size paired with the restricted space and threatening predators contribute to the scarcity of these marsupials on the mainland.
The quokka population on Rottnest Island is 8,000–12,000. Snakes are the quokka's only predator on the island; the population on smaller Bald Island, where the quokka has no predators, is 600–1,000. There are an estimated 4,000 quokkas on the mainland, with nearly all mainland populations in groups of less than 50, although there is one declining group of over 700 in the southern forest between Nannup and Denmark. In 2015 an extensive bushfire near Northcliffe nearly eradicated one of the local mainland populations, with an estimated 90% of the 500 quokkas dying. At the end of summer and into autumn, there is a seasonal decline of quokkas on Rottnest Island, where loss of vegetation and reduction of available surface water can lead to starvation; the quokka has little fear of humans and it is common for quokkas to approach people particularly on Rottnest Island where there is a prevalent population of them. Though quokkas have a reputation of the happiest animal on Earth, there a few dozens of cases annually reporting quokkas biting people, es
Cape Le Grand National Park
Cape Le Grand National Park is a national park in Western Australia, 631 km south-east of Perth and 56 km east of Esperance. The park covers an area of 31,801 hectares The area is an ancient landscape, above sea level for well over 200 million years and remained unglaciated; as a result, the area is home to many primitive relict species. Established in 1966, the park is managed by the Department of Wildlife; the name Le Grand is from one of the officers on L'Espérance, one of the ships in the 1792 expedition of Bruni d'Entrecasteaux. The area has been traversed for thousands of years by Aboriginal peoples who most used the granite outcrops for shelter and to made use of the abundant natural resources; the first recorded non-indigenous visitors was in 1792 when French expedition ships commanded by Admiral D'Entrecasteaux navigated the Recherche Archipelago. The cape was named in honour of an officer on L'Esperance who climbed the tall ships mast during a storm to identify a safe place to wait it out.
British explorer Matthew Flinders dropped anchor in Lucky Bay in 1802. Rossiter Bay is named after the captain of the French Whaling ship Mississippi who saved explorer Edward John Eyre and his Aboriginal companion Wylie from starvation after they had completed their famed crossing of the Nullarbor Plain in 1841. Less notable accounts exist of whalers and pirates using the bays and isles for their trade over the past few hundred years. Cape Le Grand was established as a national park in 1966; the granite shoreline and white sand beaches are picturesque features of the area. The park is a used for fishing, off-roading and hiking. Beaches within the Park include those at Lucky Bay, Rossiter Bay, Hellfire Bay, Le Grand Beach, Thistle Cove; the islands and waters to the south of the park are known as the Recherche Archipelago Nature Reserve, another protected area of the Recherche Archipelago and nearby coastal regions. The Cape Arid National Park is located to the east; the south-west section of the Park is dominated by rock outcrops of gneiss and granite.
These form a distinctive chain of peaks including Mount Le Grand, Frenchman Peak and Mississippi Hill. Further inland, the park comprises heath-covered sandplain, interspersed with swamps and pools of fresh water; the sandplains support dense stands of banksias. Other flora that can be found around the park include Melaleucas, sheoaks, Christmas tree and grass trees. Wildflower blooms peak in the austral spring, lasting until October and species such as blue china orchid Cyanicula gemmata, Diuris corymbosa, Hakea laurina, Thysanotus sparteus and Thelymitra macrophylla are represented within the park. Fauna that are found within the park include bandicoots, pygmy honey possums, ring tailed possums and western grey kangaroos; some of the relict species with gondwanan links that are found within the park include legless lizards, like the common scaly-foot Pygopus lepidopodus, Delma fraseri, Delma australis and Aprasia striolata. The ancient, although non-gondwanan, blind snake Ramphotyphlops australis is found within the park.
Endemic frogs found within the area include the |quacking frog Crinia georgiana, the banjo frog Limnodynastes dorsalis and the humming frog Neobatrachus pelobatoides. Facilities include toilets, campsites, sheltered areas, walk-trails, information bays and water tanks. Two full-time rangers are resident within the park. Bookings cannot be made for the 15 sites at Cape Le Grand Campground. It's a ` first come' arrangement. During busy holiday periods there is a ` camp host' couple. Protected areas of Western Australia Cape Le Grand National Park travel guide from Wikivoyage Lucky Bay, a beach near the park
Greater Beedelup National Park
Greater Beedelup National Park is a national park in Western Australia, 277 km south of Perth. It is situated on the Vasse Highway some 10 km west of Pemberton; the park is lush and damp due to an abundance of water. Gazetted in 1910, the park was declared an A Class Reserve in 1915; the Pemberton National Parks Board has been responsible for management of the park since 1957. Controlled burns occur within the park and some clear felling operations have been conducted in selected areas that used to be State Forests but have been regenerated since; the park is karri forest, with mixed areas of jarrah and marri. The loamy soil supports large colonies of moss and plants such as the swamp peppermint, karri hazel, myrtle wattle and lemonscented Darwinia all of which thrive in the damp conditions; some of the forest is an excellent example of uncut old-growth forest. Some of the upland areas are sandy and support communities of heath vegetation. Other plants of interest in the area include Crowea dentata, Crowea augustifolia and Choretrum lateriflorum.
Some rare fauna are thought to inhabit the area including the Woylie and the Tammar. Its major attraction is the Beedelup Falls, which are in full flow during spring. A suspension bridge, built in 1995, offers passage across Beedelup Brook and good views of the falls. Another feature of the park is the walk through karri tree, a 400-year-old tree with a large man-made hole cut through at the base large enough for a person to stand in; the park is named after Beedelup brook, named in 1875. It is thought the name Beedelup is derived from the Noongar word Beejalup meaning place of rest or place of sleep. An admission fee applies for this camping is not permitted. A signed walking trail around Beedelup falls, a rest area, picnic area and toilets are available for use by visitors. Protected areas of Western Australia