THE New South Wales Government has added the Avenel/Mount Westwood Station aggregation near Broken Hill and Koonaburra Station near Ivanhoe to its national park area.
The 121,390 hectare Avenel/Mount Westwood aggregation north of Broken Hill is the second largest purchase by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service after Narriearra Station at Tibooburra in June last year.
The Avenel/Mount Westwood and Koonaburra Station purchases add 166,924 hectares to the state’s national park estate and take the total additions since August 2019 to 520,000 hectares.
Avenel/Mount Westwood Station was listed with Elders Real Estate with a price guide of $20 million, and with a dry sheep equivalent rating of 25,000.
The NPWS earlier this year purchased the 45,534ha Koonaburra Station 100 kilometres north-east of Ivanhoe for $9.185 million.
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said in just over two years the government had added over half a million hectares to its park estate, “smashing target after target and securing precious habitat and biodiversity for future generations,”
“These purchases, which also include Langidoon and Metfood near Broken, have increased the size of the NPWS estate by almost 7.5 percent.
“This latest expansion will conserve significant areas of critically important habitat types in western NSW that are not currently protected in the park estate,” Mr Kean said.
The Avenel/Mount Westwood Station aggregation runs along the South Australian border and features dune fields of the Strzelecki desert, transitioning to the rocky plateau of the Barrier Range, with a network of river red gum and coolabah-fringed rivers, creeks and watercourses.
The property also supports habitat for an estimated 30 threatened plant and animal species, including the Australian bustard and the dusky hopping mouse.
Koonaburra station will add a further 45,534ha including an extensive area of sandplain and dune field country featuring a vast network of melon holes, which provide an important water sources for many species.
It also supports habitat for at least 20 threatened animal species including the Major Mitchell cockatoo, Mallee fowl and the fat-tailed dunnart.
NPWS is currently delivering the biggest investment in visitor infrastructure in national park history and this program will be extended to both Avenel and Koonaburra, ensuring both properties become “must see destinations” for the millions who visit our national parks every year.
NPWS said it is currently delivering the biggest investment in visitor infrastructure in national park history and this program will be extended to Avenel and Koonaburra.
The Avenel/Mount Westwood aggregation lies on Ngurunta country to the west and the Maljangapa country to the east, and has significant Aboriginal cultural heritage value, with artefacts and sites including middens, quarries and burial sites across the property.
Avenel is set to become a new visitor destination with campgrounds, 4WD circuits and walking trails, and is expected to open to the public in mid-2022.
Koonaburra Station contains ecosystems unrepresented or poorly protected in the NPWS system, as well as threatened ecological communities and species.
A comprehensive enhanced feral animal management program will be implemented across the park, including upgraded, fit-for-purpose fencing infrastructure.
This will assist in the regeneration of native vegetation and sequester significant volumes of carbon.
Koonaburra was once part of the giant pastoral lease Keewong Station established in the early 1800s that ran Merino sheep and features some of the holding’s original buildings.
Source: NSW Government