Protecting a national treasure

The creation of the proposed Helena and Aurora Ranges (Bungalbin) National Park in the Great Western Woodlands as part of the State Government’s Plan for our Parks is a step closer, with stage one now complete.

The 2.5 billion-year-old banded iron formations are a significant natural asset with outstanding landscapes, including the highest point in the southwest of WA outside the Stirling Range.

The remote area about 440km east of Perth includes numerous cliffs, caves and many other impressive rock formations. It also exhibits very high biodiversity. It is habitat to the threatened mallee fowl and a range of marsupials including the little long-tailed dunnart, echidna and pygmy possum.

Helena Aurora Range offers excellent bushwalking opportunities | credit:: Helena Aurora Range Advocates

There are nine registered Aboriginal sites within the proposed national park including mythological sites, ceremonial sites, paintings and engravings.

Stage one has involved the upgrade of the existing non-class A Mount Manning Range Nature Reserve to class A national park. The next stage involves the conversion of Mount Manning Conservation Park to class A national park and requires the development of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Marlinyu Ghoorlie native title claimants.

The Great Western Woodlands, which is regarded as the largest remaining area of intact Mediterranean-climate woodland left on Earth, contains about 3,000 species of flowering plants, about a fifth of all known flora in Australia.