Please return unwanted brochures to distribution points
woodlands during spring.
Below A mineshaft in the bank of the Irwin River in 19
Above Coal seams are evident at sites along the banks of the Irwin River
Coalseam Conservation Park
Coalseam Conservation Park is renowned
for its spectacular
spring wildflower displays. The park encompasses an area
of approximately 754 hectares and represents one of the
northern Wheatbelt’s most florally diverse areas.
Where does the name Coalseam come from?
Coalseam Conservation Park is one of the few areas where
black coal can be seen at the Earth’s surface. It is also the
site of the first coal mining in Western Australia.
The Irwin River has cut through the local rock exposing
a striking cross-section of sedimentary layers, one of
which is coal. Other layers of rock including siltstone and
sandstone are exposed along cliff faces beside the Irwin
River and represent hundreds of millions of years of the
An ancient landmass
The landscape of Coalseam Conservation Park formed
when Australia was part of the supercontinent Gondwana.
During this time the climate was much different from
today and huge glaciers covered the area. The movement
of these glaciers ground up the underlying rock to create
sediments that form much of the rock you see in the park
today. Around 265 million years ago, swamps and peat
lands growing on these sediments created the organic
material that was to become coal deposits.
To view coal seams along the Irwin River
, walk a few
hundred metres upstream from the Fossil site. Also visit the
site for the full story of the park’s amazing
Coalseam Conservation Park is among the most botanically
diverse areas in the northern Wheatbelt region of Western
Australia. The park lies between the northern sandplain
country where woody heath plants flower profusely in
spring, and the arid lands of the Murchison region where
spectacular everlastings bloom each spring (dependent on
On the plateau, a thin sandplain covers the hard, iron-rich
laterite capping. These sandy, dry soils are low in nutrients
and support a highly diverse ‘kwongan’ heath community
that includes needle bush (
), sandplain wattle
), broom bush (
graceful honeymyrtle (
River floodplain, reddish loams have formed from silt and
sand washed down from the valley sides and from the
upper reaches of the river. These soils are seasonally wet
and relatively rich in nutrients. They support a mostly wattle-
dominated scrub that includes jam (
and orange wattle (
During spring, a carpet of
everlastings transforms the usually
sparse wattle understorey, covering
the valley slopes. Everlastings are
short-lived annual herbs, mostly
from the daisy family, that dry out
to produce papery petals and seeds
that are dispersed by the wind. Have
a closer look at the flowers you see
and use the wildflower guide in
this brochure to identify the more
The area holds significance and strong traditional values
for several local Indigenous groups. A variety of plants
and animals found in the park are important for food and
medicinal purposes. For those with a keen eye, artefacts
such as stone flakes, scar trees and grinding stones may be
seen. Please help protect the cultural history of the park by
leaving these items as you find them.
In 1846, three brothers and
looking for suitable grazing
and agricultural lands in the
area when they discovered
exposed coal seams along
the banks of the Irwin River.
This, the first coal discovery
in Western Australia, resulted
in the area being declared
a reserve. Subsequently a
number of shafts were dug,
but only narrow seams of poor
quality coal were revealed. One
of these shafts can be seen from a viewing platform only a
short walk from Miners Campground.
The Gregorys’ exploration of the area made way for the
coming of pastoralists and farmers, who developed the
sheep and wheat properties that now surround the park.
The new settlers brought permanent change to the lifestyles
of the local Aboriginal groups.
The park’s rugged terrain, which was mostly unsuitable for
sheep and wheat, became a refuge for native plants and
animals. In time, the area’s heritage values were recognised.
Caring for the park
Be kind – it is an offence to disturb or remove animals, plants
or rocks, including fossils or cultural artefacts. Leave them as
you find them for others to enjoy.
No firearms or pets are
permitted in the park.
Be responsible – use the gas barbecues provided at River Bend
or use your own gas stove. Dead wood is habitat for wildlife not
fuel for fires.
Fires are not permitted within the park.
Be clean – take your rubbish out of the park when you leave.
Be careful – your enjoyment and safety are our concern but
drink three to four litres of water per person, per day.
There are no entry fees for the park; however, camping fees
apply to assist with management of the park and to help
improve visitor facilities. Fees are collected by campground
Department of Parks and Wildlife
Midwest Region Office
Ph: (08) 9964 0901
Floor, The Foreshore Centre
Geraldton WA 6530
Department of Parks and Wildlife
Ph: (08) 9219 9000
17 Dick Perry Ave
Kensington WA 6151
Much of Coalseam’s animal life
can be difficult to observe as
mammals are mostly nocturnal
and many reptiles can be very
cryptic. For most visitors, birds
are the only wildlife seen. Despite
this, visitors with some patience
and a sharp eye may spot
mammals such as the echidna,
euro and red kangaroo. Reptiles
such as the bobtail, Gould’s sand
goanna, western blue-tongue,
western netted dragon, mulga
snake and gwardar are relatively
common and may be seen.
A range of different birds can
easily be observed at Coalseam Conservation Park. Look for
both the singing and the spiny-cheeked honeyeaters in areas
where there are flowering trees and shrubs. Wedge-tailed
eagles soar overhead and peregrine falcons can occasionally
be seen along the cliff face in front of the Irwin Lookout.
Galahs nest in tree hollows near Miners Campground
and red-capped robins can be seen flitting around near
ground level. Australian ringnecks (or mallee ringnecks) are
common in the park as are nankeen kestrels, black-faced
woodswallows, black-faced cuckoo-shrikes and crested and
Look carefully and quietly to discover some of the animals within
the park. Please do not disturb them or damage their habitat.
Above Pompom heads (
Above Galahs nest in hollows
around Miners Campground.
Below Bobtail skinks are a common reptile in the park.
This information is current at August 2016.
This publication is available in alternative formats on request.
Coalseam Conservation Park is located 115 kilometres inland
from Geraldton, approximately 30 kilometres north-east of
Mingenew or 60 kilometres south of Mullewa. The park has
year-round access for all vehicles via well-formed gravel
roads. However, during periods of heavy rain the Irwin River
may flood and be impassable for a short period of time until
the water level drops. Please take notice of water depths
before crossing and drive within your capability.
Due to steep slopes and narrow roads, caravans are not
recommended at Irwin Lookout or the Fossil site. Please leave
your caravan at Miners or Breakaway.
The parks main campground is at
Miners, where there are unpowered
sites suitable for caravans.
Picnic tables and toilets are also
provided. Generator use is only
permitted between 9am and 11am
and between 4pm and 6pm. When the campground is full,
overflow camping is permitted at the Breakaway site. All other
sites are open for day use only.
Camping is only permitted for a maximum of three consecutive
nights during the peak season (August to October) allowing
everyone the opportunity to enjoy the park’s wildflowers.
Volunteer campground hosts are located at Miners
Campground at this time.
Things to do
Johnson Shaft Viewing Platform
Take the Miners walk trail (700-metre
return, allow 30 minutes) from the
Miners picnic area across the usually
dry bed of the Irwin River to a viewing
platform over the disused Johnson coal
shaft. Signs explain the history of the
shaft which was sunk in 1917. You can
see part of a coal seam at the bottom
of the shaft. Similar coal seams occur
as outcrops on the side of the riverbank
and are visible as black and grey banded
rocks. Look for them on your return walk.
Close to the usually dry Irwin River, this day-use site has
picnic tables, barbecues, toilets and an information shelter
with signs covering the area’s geology, flora and fauna.
Riverbend gets its name from a section of the Irwin River
that has carved a striking cliff face into the Victoria Plateau. A
cross-section of the underlying rock layers is exposed, offering
an insight into the interesting geology of the park. The layers of
rock span five evolutionary periods and provide valuable visual
evidence of how the local landscape was formed.
A 560-metre loop walk leads from
the car park to lookouts along a
cliff edge above the Irwin River,
where you’ll enjoy dramatic views
of the valley below. Signs explain
the geology of the area. Keep an eye
out for soaring peregrine falcons
and wedge-tailed eagles.
The Fossil picnic site is situated on
the banks of the Irwin River. Here
you can either rest and admire the
view or go for a walk along the Irwin
River where you may find marine
fossils in the river bank, exposed
over time by erosion. You will have
to look carefully though as the fossils are generally very small.
Exposed coal seams can also be seen in the cliffs along the river if
you head north from this site.
Coalseam wildflower guide
A guide to Coalseam’s most common everlastings and other herb-like flowers less than one metre tall.
Forms carpets of pompom–like
white (and occasionally
Bright yellow annual usually
less than 40 centimetres tall.
This common pink to
white annual has its leaves
clustered at the base of the
A bright pink or white
annual growing to about 50
A distinctive yellow or orange
annual that flowers later in
the wildflower season.
This twining plant produces
delicate purple flowers
The small blue or purple
flowers of this plant are thinly
scattered through the park.
Another yellow wildflower
that grows to about 85
centimetres tall and can be
common in the park.
A common pink wildflower in
the region that only grows to
about 40 centimetres tall.
This small and delicate
annual displays its pink
flowers through spring.
This invasive weed is
common in disturbed areas
and along roadsides within
the park. Measures are being