Government

National Park

Lake Gairdner is a national park in South Australia (Australia).

Heritage Listing

Lake Gairdner National Park, Kingoonya - Iron Knob Road, Kingoonya, SA
Photographs: None
List: Register of the National Estate
Class: Natural
Legal Status: Indicative Place
Place ID: 101485
Place File No: 3/00/261/0035

Nominator's Statement of Significance:
Situated in the true arid lands of Australia, Lake Gairdner National Park comprises one of the largest salt lake complexes on the continent. Lake Gairdner itself (4 800 sq km) is described as the third largest salt lake in Oceania after Lakes Eyre (9 300 sq km) and Torrens (5 800 sq km). Within the salt lake complex lie approximately 5,500 square km of salt lake surface and 315 islands. These islands vary in size from small rocky outcrops less than 50 m across to densely vegetated land masses of some 45 km2 in area. However, their total area comprises less than 5% of the total area of the park. Most of the biological diversity of the park is contained within that 5%. Early explorers were struck by its extraordinary visual impact.

Even today visitors and researchers principally value the park for its scenery, aesthetics and wilderness experiences. It has a special and unique landscape appeal, particularly in the south where Lake Gairdner nestles into the Gawler Ranges. This area presents a spectacular landscape of dry mulga covered hills, stony plains, lunette dunes, islands and the salt surface of the lake itself.

Based on the criteria proposed by the National Wilderness Inventory the entire area occupied by Lake Gairdner National Park is a wilderness of the highest quality.

The Gawler Ranges, within which the National Park partly lies, are considered to lie within the top 22 refugia in the arid and semi-arid lands of Australia. Refugia are described as areas possessing unusual aggregations of species considered endemic, relictual, threatened or otherwise significant. Of the five plant species within the Gawler Ranges that are endemic to South Australia one is found on the islands of the park; Tarcoola wattle or steel bush ACACIA TARCULENSIS. One plant species, sandalwood SANTALUM SPICATUM, is likely to be Threatened or Rare at both the State and regional levels. It is listed as uncommon for the GT Region. The Ranges are also significant as a transitional area between the more mesic flora and fauna of the Eyre Peninsula and the arid biota of the northern areas of the continent. The flora of the Ranges also contain elements from Western Australia (e.g. DARWINIA sp.)The biogeographic significance of the Gawler Ranges has been widely recognised at the plant family level.

Over 20 bird species reach their northernmost limit and eight species their southernmost limit here (Penny Paton pers. comm.). One bird species occurring on the islands of the park is vulnerable at the State level: Major Mitchell`s Cockatoo CACATUA LEADBEATERI. It is also likely that the vulnerable thick-billed grasswren AMYTORNIS TEXTILIS MYALL, redthroat PYRRHOLAEMUS BRUNNEUS, rufous fieldwren SERICORNIS CAMPESTRIS and the vulnerable slender-billed thornbill ACANTHIZA IREDALEI may inhabit some of the southern islands of Lake Gairdner as they have all been sighted on the nearby mainland. The night parrot GEOPSITTACUS OCCIDENTALIS, rated as Nationally endangered, was sighted late last century near Murnea Rockhole less than 1 km from the western shore of Lake Gairdner.

Official Values: Not Available

Description:
Lake Gairdner National Park is located approximately 150 km north west of Port Augusta in South Australia. It lies within latitudes 31o 00`S and 32o 30`S and longitudes 134o 30`E and 136o 15`E; its northern half is in the Kingoonya Soil Conservation District whilst the southern half is in the Gawler Ranges Soil Conservation District. The park conserves one of the large salina lake systems that are so typical of the arid landscapes of arid Australia. The boundary of the reserve follows the edge of the three lakes that comprise the park - Lakes Gairdner, Harris and Everard; within that boundary lie approximately 5,500 square km of salt lake surface and some 315 islands. The islands vary in size from small rocky outcrops less than 50 m across to large, densely vegetated land masses some 12 km across; their total area is about 270 square km or less than 5% of the total area of the park. They vary in type from red rocky islands with steep cliffs (1-2 m) of the local Gawler Range Volcanics to low islands of both stabilised and drifting Quaternary sands which originated in the great Yellabinna Land System to the west of the park. Lakes Gairdner and Everard fall within the Gairdner Land System while Lake Harris lies within the Labyrinth Land System.

Situated in the true arid lands of Australia, Lake Gairdner National Park comprises one of the largest salt lake complexes on the continent. The beds of the three major lakes (Gairdner, Harris and Everard) are of very low profile. Lake Gairdner`s lake bed varies from 110 m above sea level at the southern end to 125 m above sea level in the north. The lakes are normally dry but sporadically fill with water, most often as a function of monsoonal rainfall coming from the north-west. During these times large shallow sheets of water move back and forth across the lakes driven by the prevailing winds. The water table is also very close to the surface of the lake and appears in the form of fresh or brackish springs along the margins of the lake and shores of the islands. The salt crust in Lake Gairdner varies in thickness from almost zero in the north and east to up to 30 cm in the south west.

Two hundred and sixty-five plant species were recorded during four separate field trips to Lake Gairdner National Park. Of these, 19 have never been recorded before for the Gairdner-Torrens (GT) Region which is located north of 32o S latitude. Whilst none of the 265 plant species were nationally significant, some have particular conservation significance either for South Australia as a whole or regionally. One species, sandalwood SANTALUM SPICATUM, is likely to be threatened or rare at both the State and regional levels. It is listed as uncommon for the GT Region. The abundance of this species found on the islands testifies to the fact that these areas were not accessible to the sandalwood cutters in the 1930`s. In the Eyre Peninsula (EP) Region (south of 32o S latitude) 15 of the species found are considered to be of varying degrees of conservation significance; six are regionally rare and two likely to be regionally threatened or rare. One plant species endemic to South Australia and of particular interest in the Gawler Ranges is the Tarcoola wattle ACACIA TARCULENSIS; it is relatively common on the islands of Lake Gairdner National Park.

Fifty native bird species were recorded on field trips in 1997 and 1998; observations matched similar habitats on the mainland (Chris Baxter pers. comm.). One bird species found on the islands of the park is vulnerable at the State level; Major Mitchell`s Cockatoo CACATUA LEADBEATERI. Populations of the little crow CORVUS BENNETTII were breeding on one of the islands; approximately 30 occupied nests were found in western myall and native pine woodlands.

None of the animal species seen in the park are listed as threatened fauna (Harald Ehmann, pers. comm.). Native mammals commonly recorded were the red kangaroo MACROPUS RUFUS, western grey kangaroo M. FULIGINOSUS and common wallaroo M. ROBUSTUS. The small mammal and reptile fauna of the islands was depauperate (Harald Ehmann and Tonia Brown pers. comm.). This may be a function of ineffective dispersal agents such as minimal potential for rafting from the adjacent mainland (Harald Ehmann, pers. comm.). There has been an apparent total penetration by introduced mammals (House Mouse, Fox, Goat and Camel) onto all of the islands of the park, in some cases over at least 10 km of salt crust. It is likely that relatively high densities of these animals may account in part for the present depauperate native vertebrate fauna (Harald Ehmann, pers. comm.).

It is possible that cultural values, both indigenous and non-indigenous, of national estate significance may exist in this place. As yet, the Australian Heritage Commission has not identified, documented or assessed these values.

History: Not Available

Condition and Integrity:
Although it is surrounded by pastoral leasehold land, Lake Gairdner National Park was vacant crown land before it was gazetted as a park. Apart from incursions by sheep during wetter seasons onto a few of the islands that are closest to shore, much of the park has not experienced stock grazing. However there was a disappointing prevalence of other introduced animals including rabbits, foxes, goats, camels, donkeys and domestic mice, which were found over the entire park. The abundance of these animals corresponded fairly well with grazing impacts on susceptible vegetation types (Lay et al., 1999). On some islands there were signs of good regeneration of native tree and shrub species largely due, it is suspected, to the recent absence of rabbits killed by calicivirus. Introduced weeds were uncommon.

A complete absence of any sign of European activities on the islands in the park was noted during an assessment of their condition carried out in 1997 and 1998. Based on the criteria proposed by the National Wilderness Inventory (Lesslie and Maslen, 1995) the entire area occupied by Lake Gairdner National Park is a wilderness of the highest quality. It has the highest value for both Biophysical Naturalness (the degree to which the site is free from biophysical disturbances caused by the influence of modern technological society) and Wilderness Quality (estimates produced by combining wilderness indicator measurements). The National Park also meets the criteria under the South Australian Wilderness Protection Act 1992 for land within the park to be designated as wilderness.

Location:
The gazetted National Park boundary follows the edge of Lakes Gairdner, Everard and Harris.

Bibliography:
Andrews, F. (1883) Notes on the Night Parrot. Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Aust. 6: 29-30
Burbidge, N.T. (1960) The phytogeography of the Australian Region. Aust. J. Bot. 8: 75-209.
Briggs, J.D. and Leigh, J.H. (1995) Rare or Threatened Australian Plants. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, CSIRO, Canberra. 466 pp.
Croker, R.L. and Wood, J.G. (1947) Some historical influences on the development of the South Australian vegetation communities and their bearing on concepts and classification in ecology. Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Aust. 70: 83-107.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (1997) Lake Gairdner National Park Draft Management Plan. North Region, Natural Resources Group, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Adelaide. 31 pp.
Despatch of Governor MacDonnell, No. 203 of November 30, 1857.
Ehmann, H. and Tynan, R. (1997) Wildlife Management Manual: the Gawler Ranges and Kingoonya Soil Conservation Districts. Pastoral Management Program, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Adelaide.
Garnett, S. (1992) Threatened and Extinct Birds of Australia. Royal Australian Ornithologists Union and Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra.
Ireland, C. (1999) The Islands of Lake Gairdner National Park: An Initial Appraisal of Biodiversity and Land Condition. Ireland Resource Management Pty. Ltd., Adelaide.
Jessop, J.P. ed. (1993) A list of the Vascular Plants of South Australia (Edition IV). Adelaide Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Adelaide. 151 pp.
Lang, P.J. and Kraehenbuehl, D.N. (1997) Plants of Particular Conservation Significance in South Australia`s Agricultural Regions. (September, 1997 update of unpublished database). Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Adelaide.
Lay, B., Ireland, C. and Alexander, P. (In press) Indicators for biodiversity conservation in national parks of South Australia. In. People and Rangelands; Building the Future. Proceedings of the Sixth International Rangeland Congress, Townsville, Australia.
Lesslie, R. and Maslen, M. (1995) National Wilderness Inventory Australia: Handbook of Procedures, Content and Usages. 2nd ed. Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra.
Microsoft Corporation (1998) Encarta World Atlas 99. Microsoft Corporation, USA
Morton, S.R., Short, J. and Barker, R.D. (1995) Refugia for Biological Diversity in Arid and Semi-arid Australia. Biodiversity Series, Paper No. 4, Biodiversity Unit, Commonwealth Department of Environment, Sport and Territories, Canberra.
National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1972, amended 1992.
Robinson, A.C., Casperson, K.D., Canty, P.D. and MacDonald, C.A. (1988) A Biological Survey of the Gawler Ranges, South Australia in October 1985. National Parks and Wildlife Service, South Australian Department of Environment and Planning and the South Australian Museum, Department for the Arts, Adelaide.
Specht, R.L. (1972) The Vegetation of South Australia. Government Printer, Adelaide.

Report Produced: Wed Jan 31 07:36:18 2007

http://www.aussieheritage.com.au/listings/sa/Kingoonya/LakeGairdnerNationalPark/10677


Types of 'legal status' for each heritage list

The legal status of each place is shown on the results screen when you do a search on the Australian Heritage Database. You can limit your searches to records with a particular legal status by using the 'legal status' pull down box. There are different types of legal status categories for each heritage list. Here is an explanation of each. * World Heritage List * List of overseas Places of Historic Significance to Australia * National Heritage List * Commonwealth Heritage List * Register of the National Estate World Heritage List Indicative property Data provided to or obtained by the Heritage Division has been entered into the database. However, a formal nomination has not been made and the Department has not prepared all the data necessary for a nomination. Nominated property The Australian Government has prepared a nomination for a property in its own territory and presented it to the World Heritage Committee for assessment. The property is under assessment by the World Heritage Bureau and its associated professional organizations. Withdrawn property The Australian Government has decided to withdraw its nomination to the World Heritage List. Declared property The World Heritage Committee has inscribed the property in the World Heritage List. Declared property�extension nominated The Australian Government has nominated an extension to the area of an already listed property. Declared property�new values nominated The Australian Government has nominated new values for an already listed property. Rejected property The World Heritage Committee has decided that the nominated property does not meet the criteria for World Heritage Listing. Endangered property The property has been placed in the World Heritage List In Danger. Deleted property The property has deteriorated to the point where it has irretrievably lost those characteristics that determined its inclusion. The Committee has informed the state party and comments have been sought on the deletion. These comments have been taken into account before the final decision has been made. List of Overseas Places of Historic Significance to Australia Listed place The Place has been included in the List. National Heritage List Indicative place Data provided to or obtained by the Heritage Division has been entered into the database. However, a formal nomination has not been made and the Council has not received the data for assessment. The data in the place does not necessarily represent the views of the Council or the Minister. Nominated place The Minister's delegate has received a nomination on the approved form and carried out an initial assessment on data adequacy. The nomination either will be or has been referred to the Council for assessment. The data will generally be that provided by the nominator, but will be updated during assessment. The significance or values attributed to the place are the views of the nominator and not necessarily those of either the Council or the Minister. Ministerial request for assessment The Minister has requested the AHC to assess whether a place, that is not the subject of a nomination, meets any of the National heritage criteria. Request for emergency listing The Minister or the Minster's delegate has received a request for the emergency listing of a place. Emergency listing The Minister has been satisfied that the place has one or more National Heritage values and that any one or more of those values is under threat. The Minister has, by instrument published in the Gazette, included the place in the National Heritage List. Such places are subsequently referred to the Council for assessment. Place rejected for emergency listing The Minister has rejected the request for the emergency listing of a place. Assessed place The Council has completed the assessment of the place referred to it by the Minister. Listed place The Council has sent an assessment to the Minister and the Minister has entered the place in the National Heritage List. He or she does this by instrument published in the Gazette. Within listed place � any values given in record for listed place This place is within the larger area entered in the National Heritage List. Whilst the place has not been specifically assessed, it may have heritage values. Such values may be identified in the record for the encompassing area. Place not included The Council has sent an assessment to the Minister and the Minister has decided not to include the place in the National Heritage List. This decision will appear on the Internet with the reasons for the decision. Removed place Either the Minister * has removed the place from the National Heritage List because he or she is satisfied that the place no longer has any National Heritage values; or, * has decided that it is necessary to do so in the interests of Australia's defence or security. Destroyed place The place has been destroyed before being assessed or listed. Commonwealth Heritage List Indicative place Data provided to or obtained by the Heritage Division has been entered into the database. However, a formal nomination has not been made and the Council has not received the data for assessment. The data in the place does not necessarily represent the views of the Council or the Minister. Nominated place The Minister's delegate has received a nomination on the approved form and carried out an initial assessment on data adequacy. The nomination either will be or has been referred to the Council for assessment. The data will generally be that provided by the nominator, but will be updated during assessment. The significance or values attributed to the place are the views of the nominator and not necessarily those of either the Council or the Minister. Emergency listing The Minister has been satisfied that the place has one or more Commonwealth Heritage values and that any one or more of those values is under threat. He or she has by instrument published in the Gazette, included the place in the Commonwealth Heritage List. Such places are subsequently referred to the Council for assessment. Assessed place The Council has completed the assessment of the place referred to it by the Minister. Listed place The Council has sent an assessment to the Minister and the Minister has entered the place in the Commonwealth Heritage List. He or she does this by instrument published in the Gazette. Within listed place � any values given in record for listed place This place is within the larger area entered in the Commonwealth Heritage List. Whilst the place has not been specifically assessed, it may have heritage values. Such values may be identified in the record for the encompassing area. Place not included The Council has sent an assessment to the Minister and the Minister has decided not to include the place in the Commonwealth Heritage List. This decision will appear on the Internet with the reasons for the decision. Removed place Either the Minister * has removed the place from the CHL as the place is no longer in a Commonwealth area or, if the place is outside the Australian jurisdiction, the place is no longer owned or leased by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth Agency; or * has removed the place because he or she is satisfied that the place no longer has any Commonwealth Heritage values; or * has decided that it is necessary to do so in the interests of Australia's defence or security. Destroyed place The place has been destroyed before being assessed or listed. Ineligible place At some stage in the assessment process, but prior to listing, the place ceases to be in a Commonwealth area, or, if outside the Australian jurisdiction, is no longer owned or leased by the Commonwealth. Register of the National Estate Status of the Register of the National Estate - February 2007 The Australian Heritage Council can no longer add places to or remove places or a part of a place from the Register of the National Estate (Register). In 2006, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act), and the Australian Heritage Council 2003 were amended to, among other things, stop changes to the Register. Places may be protected under appropriate States, Territories and Local Governments heritage legislation. Under an agreement between the Commonwealth and States and Territories it is intended that Registered places will be considered for inclusion in appropriate Commonwealth, State / Territory heritage lists. Registered places can be protected under the EPBC Act if they are also included in another Commonwealth statutory heritage list. For example, Registered places owned or leased by the Commonwealth are protected from any action likely to have a significant impact on the environment. There is no provision in the EPBC Act for Register of the National Estate places to be transferred to the National Heritage List or the Commonwealth Heritage List. Indicative Data provided to or obtained by the Australian Heritage Council or the former Australian Heritage Commission has been entered into the database. Identified The former Australian Heritage Commission has assessed the values of this place and decided that it should be entered in the Register. The place had not reached the Interim List stage by 1 January 2004 when the Commission was abolished. Interim list The place was in the Interim List at 1 January 2004 when the Australian Heritage Commission was abolished. The place had been publicly proposed for entry in the Register. Registered The place is in the Register of the National Estate. Although some places may be legally registered because they are within a larger registered area they may not necessarily possess intrinsic significance. Removed from Register The place has been removed from the Register Destroyed The place has been destroyed before being assessed or listed. Rejected The Australian Heritage Council or the former Australian Heritage Commission has assessed the place and found that it does not warrant entry in the Register in its own right. Duplicate record The place has another record in the database. Identified through state processes The place is entered in a state/territory heritage register. The Australian Heritage Commission had formally recognised the standards of historic assessment of the relevant state or territory heritage body and acknowledged that the place has National Estate historic values.

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