Western australian wildlife management program no. 28 Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Moora District



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PART FOUR:  THE PLAN FOR

MANAGEMENT ..........................................594

1. Determining Priorities ...............................594

2. Management and Research Actions...........594


vii

(i)


Fungal Disease .............................. 595

(ii)


Survey ........................................... 595

(iii)


Population Size and Few

   Populations................................. 595

(iv)

Transport Corridors....................... 596



(v)

Short-lived Disturbance

                    Opportunists............................... 596

(vi)


Land Acquisition ........................... 596

(vii)


Fencing.......................................... 597

(viii) Mining........................................... 597

(ix)

Recreation ..................................... 598



(x)

Habitat Degradation ...................... 598

(xi)

Ex situ Germ Plasm Collections.... 598



(xii)

Re-introduction ............................. 598

(xiii) Liaison........................................... 599

(xiv) Monitoring .................................... 599

(xv)

Research ........................................ 599



(xvi) Linear Marking.............................. 600

(xvii) Environmental Weeds ................... 601

(xviii) Fire Regimes ................................. 601

3. Priority Flora in the Moora District.......... 601

4. Implementation and Term of the

     Management Program.......................... 601



REFERENCES............................................. 617

GLOSSARY.................................................. 629

TABLES

1. Moora District Declared Rare Flora

     scored (1-3) according to the

     degree of threat or urgency for

     management and research action ......... 602

2. Moora District Declared Rare Flora

     ranked in priority order for

     management and research action ......... 604

3. Priority One, Two and Three species

     lists with recommended status

     indicated .............................................. 605

4. Changes in conservation status ................. 610

5.  Declared Rare and Poorly Known

Flora in the Moora District.

Conservation Status updated to

December 1999................................... 611

6.  Taxa in the Moora District added to the

CALM Priority Flora List updated to

December 1999................................... 615

FIGURES

1. Location of the Moora District in

     relation to other CALM Management

     Regions of the State................................. 2

2. The Moora District covered by this

     Program ................................................... 4



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Work on this document has taken place over several years and a large number of people have provided advice

and assistance during that time. 

Ray Cranfield and Phil Spencer of the Western Australian Herbarium, CALM carried out numerous field surveys,

mainly during 1991-1992.  Consultant Ted Griffin provided much population information and valuable

discussion.

At the Western Australian Herbarium, identification, taxonomic advice and other information was provided by

Anne Cochrane, Richard Cowan, Anne Kelly, Brendan Lepschi, Neville Marchant, Terry Macfarlane, Bruce

Maslin, Diana Papenfus, Barbara Rye and Paul Wilson.  David Coates also gave much advice on the Program

and Angie Walker edited the document with advice from Vicki Hamley.

CALM Moora District staff, Matt Warnock, Ken Borland and David Rose, also provided much help and

information for the fieldwork.

Greg Keighery and Bronwyn Keighery were most helpful with discussion and information on many taxa.

Alex George, Elizabeth George and Margaret Pieroni provided much information, particularly for species of



Verticordia and Dryandra.

Other specialist advice was given by the following:  Jeni Alford (



Tetratheca), Eleanor Bennett (Conospermum,

Sterculiaceae), Jenny Chappill (



Jacksonia), Bob Chinnock (Eremophila), Barry Conn (Hemiandra), Mike Crisp

(

Daviesia), Steve Hopper (Eucalyptus), Christina Lemsom (Andersonia), Allen Lowrie (Drosera, Stylidium),

Bob Makinson, Peter Olde (

Grevillea), Kelly Shepherd, Carol Wilkins (Sterculiaceae) and Annette Wilson

(

Astroloma).

In the field, many people have been very helpful.  Alison and John Doley, Bob Scott and Don Williams provided

access to their land and showed us populations of species that occurred there.  Charles Straughan of the Three

Springs Shire and Alan Tinker showed us new populations that they had found.  Guy Richmond provided new

information on populations of 



Eremophila.  Ray Hart (Hart, Simpson and Associates) also provided information.

ii

ABBREVIATIONS

Ca

Carnamah Shire



Ch

Chittering Shire

Co

Coorow Shire



D

Dandaragan Shire

Da

Dallwallinu Shire



est.

Estimated number of plants

G

Gingin Shire



I

Irwin Shire

KP

Kings Park Herbarium



Mi

Minginew Shire

Mo

Moora Shire



MRWA

Main Roads W.A.

TS

Three Springs Shire



VCL

Vacant Crown land

VP

Victoria Plains Shire



WATSCU

Western Australian Threatened Species and

  Communities Unit

WH

as stated on WAHERB



*

WAHERB record only, population not seen more recently



iii

PART ONE:  INTRODUCTION

1.

The Need For Management

Western Australia has a unique flora world renowned for its diversity and high level of endemism.

WACENSUS, the database of plant names for the State, lists 12 442 current taxa (species, subspecies, varieties

and phrase-names) (July 1997) with the total likely to exceed 13 000 once botanists have completed surveying,

searching and describing the flora.  A significant proportion of the Western Australian total is concentrated in the

south-west of the State, where there is also a large number of endemics due to a long history of isolation and

climatic and geological stability (Hopper 1979).  According to Briggs and Leigh (1996) the State has 45.9

percent of the Australian total of threatened, rare or poorly known plant taxa, with 79 percent of these restricted

to the south-west.  Nearly 2 000 Western Australian taxa are currently listed as threatened or have been placed on

the Department of Conservation and Land Management's (CALM) Priority Flora List because they are rare or

poorly known (K. Atkins, personal communication).

Although some plants are rare because of their requirement for a specific restricted habitat, the majority have

become rare or threatened because of the activities of humans.  Extensive land clearing and modification of the

environment have resulted in the extinction of some species and threaten the survival of many others.  Continued

land clearing, plant diseases (particularly due to 

Phytophthora  species),  exotic weeds and pests, road works,

urbanisation, grazing by domestic stock and increasing salinity continue to threaten the flora.

The State Conservation Strategy, 

Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, and Conservation and Land Management Act

1984 provide the guidelines and legislative basis for the conservation of the State's indigenous plant and animal

species.  CALM is responsible for the administration of the Wildlife Conservation Act, and hence, is responsible

for the protection and conservation of flora and fauna on all lands and waters throughout the State.  Section 23F

of the Act gives the Minister responsible for the Act statutory responsibility for the protection of those plant taxa

declared to be rare (i.e. threatened taxa).

This Wildlife Management Program collates the available biological and management information on the

Declared Rare Flora, and Priority One, Two and Three (poorly known) taxa of CALM's Moora District, as at

12 August 1994.  In 1994, 274 extant taxa were listed as Declared Rare Flora and a further 39 taxa were listed on

the Schedule as Presumed Extinct. In addition to those that were declared rare, 1 582 taxa were listed on CALM's

Priority Flora List as at February 1994.  The majority of these taxa require further detailed survey to accurately

assess their conservation status while others are rare, but not currently threatened, and require ongoing

monitoring.  Brown 



et al. (1998) provide illustrations of declared rare (threatened ) flora as at 1998.

The Moora District covers some 25 000 km

2

 of which much has been cleared for agriculture, particularly on the



eastern side.  Figure 1 shows the location of the Moora District in relation to the CALM management regions of

the State.



2.

2.

Objective of the Program

The objective of this program for the Moora District is:

To ensure and enhance, by appropriate management, the continued survival in the wild of populations of

Declared Rare Flora and other plants in need of special protection.

It aims to achieve this by:

· 

providing a useful reference for CALM staff and other land managers for the day to day management and



protection of Declared Rare Flora populations and populations of other taxa that are poorly known and

may be at risk;

· 

directing Departmental resources within the Region to those species most urgently in need of attention;



iv

Figure 1.

Location of the Moora District in relation to other CALM Management Regions of the State



(figure is not available)

v

· 

assisting in the identification of Declared Rare species and other species potentially at risk, and their likely



habitats; and

· 

fostering an appreciation and increased awareness of the importance of protecting and conserving



Declared Rare Flora and other species potentially at risk or in need of special protection.

3.

Rare Flora Legislation and Guidelines for Gazettal

The 


Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 protects all classes of indigenous flora throughout the State.  Protected flora

includes:

Spermatophyta - flowering plants, conifers and cycads

Pteridophyta - ferns and fern allies

Bryophyta - mosses and liverworts

Thallophyta - algae, fungi and lichens

Section 23F of the Act provides special protection to those taxa (species, subspecies, varieties, hybrids)

considered by the Minister to be:

· 

In danger of extinction - the taxon is in serious risk of disappearing from the wild state within one or two



decades if present land use and other causal factors continue to operate;

· 

Rare - less than a few thousand adult plants of the taxon existing in the wild;



· 

Deemed to be threatened and in need of special protection - the taxon is not presently in danger of

extinction but is at risk over a longer period through continued depletion, or occurs largely on sites likely

to experience changes in land use which could threaten its survival in the wild;

or

· 

Presumed Extinct - taxa which have not been collected, or otherwise verified over the past 50 years



despite thorough searching, or of which all known wild populations have been destroyed more recently.

In addition, hybrids or suspected hybrids which satisfy the above criteria also must be:

· 

a distinct entity, that is, the progeny are consistent with the agreed taxonomic limits for that taxon group;



· 

capable of being self perpetuating, that is, not reliant on the parental taxa for replacement; and

· 

the product of a natural event, that is, both parents are naturally occurring and cross fertilisation was by



natural means. 

Protection under Section 23F is achieved by declaring flora to be 'rare flora' by notice published in the

Government Gazette.  CALM's Policy Statement No. 9 discusses the legislation relating to Declared Rare Flora

and outlines the criteria for gazettal.

Under the provisions of Section 23F, the 'taking', by any person, of Declared Rare Flora is prohibited on any

category of land throughout the State without the written consent of the Minister.  A person breaching the Act is

liable to a penalty of up to $10,000.  The legislation refers only to wild populations and applies equally to

Government officers and private citizens on Crown and private lands.

'To take' in relation to any flora includes 'to gather, pluck, cut, pull up, destroy, dig up, remove or injure the flora

or to cause or permit the same to be done by any means'.  This includes not only direct destruction or injury by

human hand or machine but also such activities as allowing grazing by stock, introducing pathogens, altering

water tables so as to inundate or deprive the flora of adequate soil moisture, allowing air pollutants to harm

foliage, and burning.


vi

Figure 2.

The Moora District covered by this Program



(Figure is not available)

vii

The Schedule published in the Government Gazette is revised annually to accommodate additions and deletions

to the list of Declared Rare Flora.

· 

The taxon (species, subspecies, variety) is well-defined, readily identified and represented by a voucher



specimen in a State or National Herbarium. It need not necessarily be formally described under

conventions in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, but such a description is preferred and

should be undertaken as soon as possible after listing on the schedule.

· 

Have been searched for thoroughly in the wild by competent botanists during the past five years in most



likely habitats, according to guidelines approved by the Executive Director.

· 

Searches have established that the plant in the wild is either; rare, in danger of extinction; deemed to be



threatened and in need of special protection.

Plants may be deleted from the Declared Rare Flora Schedule where:

· 

recent botanical survey has shown that the taxon is no longer rare, in danger of extinction or otherwise in



need of special protection;

· 

the taxon is shown to be a hybrid that does not comply with the inclusion criteria;



· 

the taxon is no longer threatened because it has been adequately protected by reservation of land where it

occurs, or because its population numbers have increased beyond the danger point.

4.

CALM's Priority Flora List

CALM maintains a Priority Flora List to determine priorities for survey of plants of uncertain conservation status.

The List comprised 1582 taxa (at February 1994) that were poorly known and in need of high priority survey or

are adequately surveyed but in need of monitoring.  The poorly known taxa are possibly at risk but do not meet

the survey requirements for gazettal as Declared Rare Flora (DRF), as outlined in Policy Statement No. 9.  Only

those plants considered to be threatened or presumed extinct on the basis of thorough survey can be included on

the Declared Rare Flora Schedule.

The Priority Flora List is divided into the following categories according to the number of known populations

and the degree of perceived threat.

Priority One - Poorly known Taxa



Taxa which are known from one or a few (generally <5) populations which are under threat, either due to

small population size, or being on lands under immediate threat, e.g. road verges, urban areas, farmland, active

mineral leases, etc., or the plants are under threat, e.g. from disease, grazing by feral animals, etc.  May include

taxa with threatened populations on protected lands.  Such taxa are under consideration for declaration as 'rare

flora', but are in urgent need of further survey.

Priority Two - Poorly Known Taxa



Taxa which are known from one or a few (generally <5) populations, at least some of which are not

believed to be under immediate threat (i.e. not currently endangered).  Such taxa are under consideration for

declaration as 'rare flora', but are in urgent need of further survey.

Priority Three - Poorly Known Taxa

Taxa which are known from several populations, and the taxa are not believed to be under immediate

threat (i.e. not currently endangered), either due to the number of known populations (generally >5), or known

populations being large, and either widespread or protected.  Such taxa are under consideration for declaration as

'rare flora' but are in need of further survey.

Priority Four - Rare Taxa



viii

Taxa which are considered to have been adequately surveyed and which, whilst being rare (in Australia),

are not currently threatened by any identifiable factors.  These taxa require monitoring every 5-10 years.

5.

Responsibilities within the Department

· 

Reviewing Departmental policy on Declared Rare Flora is the responsibility of the CALM Corporate



Executive;

· 

Identification of Declared Rare Flora is the initial responsibility of Herbarium staff, but should, with



appropriate training, become a Regional responsibility also;

· 

Locating Declared Rare Flora is the responsibility of Bioconservation Group (CALMScience) staff,



Wildlife Branch and the Western Australian Threatened Species and Communities Unit (WATSCU)

(Nature Conservation Division) and Regional Services Division staff;

· 

Determination of land status and preparation of material for notification to landowners is the responsibility



of Wildlife Branch;

· 

Hand-delivered notification to landowners of Declared Rare Flora populations is the responsibility of



Regional staff and Wildlife Branch;

· 

Maintenance of Declared Rare Flora information and database, and dissemination of these data are the



responsibility of Wildlife Branch;

· 

Advice on management prescriptions is the responsibility of staff of Bioconservation Group



(CALMScience), Regional Ecologists (Regional Services Division), Wildlife Branch and WATSCU staff;

· 

Coordination of Recovery Plans and Interim Recovery Plans for threatened taxa is the responsibility of



WATSCU;

 

· 



Management, protection and regular inspection of Declared Rare Flora populations is the responsibility of

staff of the Moora District;

· 

Enforcement matters relating to the provisions of the Wildlife Conservation Act are the responsibility of



Wildlife Officers in the Midwest Region;

· 

Implementation and revision of the Management Program is the responsibility of the Moora District



Threatened Flora Recovery Team.

6.

The Moora District

The CALM Moora District runs north from Lancelin (110 km north of Perth) along the coast for 200 km to

Dongara.  It extends inland on the southern boundary for 120 km to the east and south of Calingiri.  On the

eastern side it follows the eastern boundaries of the Moora, Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs Shires until

south of Mingenew where the Midlands Road forms the northern boundary west to Dongara.  The District is

approximately 140 km across at its widest point.

There was formerly an extension 25 km further north of Dongara on the western side, but during the course of

work on this program the northern boundary was rationalised, losing that section and including part of the Shire

of Mingenew. 

CALM’s Swan Region bounds the southern side of the District with the Merredin District of the Wheatbelt

Region to the east and the Geraldton District to the north, which with the Moora District form the southern part

of the Midwest Region.  There are nine Shires included within the boundaries of the District, all of the Shires of

Three Springs, Carnamah, Coorow, Dandaragan, Moora and Victoria Plains, and parts of the Shires of Irwin,

Mingenew and Gingin. 



ix

The District covers an area of 25 000 km

2

 with eight national parks and more than ninety nature reserves



(400 000 hectares of conservation reserves) managed by CALM.  It includes the Lesueur National Park, an area

long recognised (with the Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River areas) for its diverse flora, with an exceptionally

high number of rare and endemic species.

6.1    Climate

The climate of the Moora District is Mediterranean with cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers, with a

moderately reliable rainfall.  Rainfall varies from an average annual rainfall in the south west of the District of

about 600 mm at Lancelin, decreasing northwards to 550 mm at Jurien, and around 500 mm at Dongara.  It

increases to over 650 mm along the escarpment from Mt Lesueur to Dandaragan but generally decreases inland

to about 350 mm along the eastern boundary of the District, occurring mainly between May and August.  Moora

is situated on the border between the drier wheatbelt climate, with less than four wet months in the year, and the

moister climate towards the coast, with five wet months annually.

Mean maximum temperatures in this area vary from 30.5

C near the coast to 32.5



o

 C inland, with the mean

minimum varying from 9

o

 C to 10



o

 C.


6.2    Geology, Landforms and Soils

The western part of the District coincides with the Perth Sedimentary Basin, which is separated by the Darling

Fault from the mainly granitic rocks of the Yilgarn Block to the east.  The Mesozoic rocks of the Perth Basin are

sedimentary, mainly sandstones and siltstones.  These are covered patchily by unconsolidated sediments.  

The Darling Fault is the most important geological feature in the District, running in a north-south direction and

seen as an elongated depression, sometimes known as the Urella Trough, running east of the Urella Fault.  It is

occupied by a creek originally running south from the Yarra Yarra Lakes south of Three Springs and Lake

Eganu, south west of Coorow, joining the Moore river at Moora, which follows the fault south to Mogumber.  

A Tertiary or Pleistocene coastline runs 16-32 km inland of the present coast, and south of Jurien Bay this is

marked by the Gingin Scarp, which separates the plateau from the coastal plain.  A band of Proterozoic

sedimentary rocks (the Moora Group) occurs between Moora and Carnamah, immediately east of the fault.

These are made up of sandstones, siltstones, limestone and chert rocks.

The soils of the District west of the Darling fault are principally sands whereas those to the east of the Fault are

generally heavier loams and gravels.

The Moora District can be divided into five regions:

Swan Coastal Plain

Gently undulating, usually less than 100 m above sea level, with westward or internal drainage. The plain

incorporates three subdivisions:

·  Coastal Belt

Consists of two Quaternary dune systems.  The younger of these, the Quindalup Dune System, is formed of

fixed and mobile sand dunes, forming a narrow band along the coast.  The older, the Spearwood Dune

System, consists of dunes lithified to limestone.  On the western edge, straight, sandy beaches are separated

by low limestone headlands.  Caves on the coastal belt have in some cases been formed by water from ponded

rivers percolating through the dune limestone, and others may have been formed in the same way.


x

· 

Bassendean Dunes



This system runs east of the coastal belt from north of the Hill River, widening towards the south.  Leached

Pleistocene dunes have a subdued topography, with numerous interdunal swamps.  They form a plain behind

the coastal belt.

·  Eneabba Plain

This includes alluvial fans and part of the coastal belt.  The alluvial fans have been built out, particularly in

the Eneabba area, where westward-flowing rivers slowed as they decreased in gradient approaching the

coastal belt.  Some sandy stream channels have blown out to produce dunes.

Dissected Region

Situated between the Gingin and Dandaragan Scarps, a dissected area with westward drainage and with laterite

capped remnants of an earlier uplifted plain, forming hills 250-300 m in height, with laterite capping over softer

sedimentary rocks.  Where the laterite is dissected, breakaways fringe the hills.  Resistant Triassic sandstone

inland of Jurien Bay produces the mesas of Mt Peron and Mt Lesueur.

Dandaragan Plateau

A flat or gently undulating plateau 200-300 m in elevation, with poorly developed drainage and bounded by the

Dandaragan Scarp to the west and the Gingin Scarp to the south west.  It is laterite capped, but the laterite on this

plateau is still covered by quartz sand.  Erosion around the margins of the plateau has produced breakaways.



Yarra Yarra Region

Low lying land to the west of the Darling Scarp, with swamps, lake systems, associated dune deposits and

intermittent internal drainage.

Darling Plateau

The Darling Scarp forms the eroded western edge of the Darling Plateau which is expressed as undulating plains

on the eastern side of the District, drained in this area by the Moore River.  Features of the Plateau include low

granitic hills and saline lakes.  The Darling Scarp degenerates to a series of low hills by the time it reaches the

southern boundary of the District, and these extend north to beyond Moora.

References

Baxter and Lipple (1985), Carter and Lipple (1982), Lowry (1974).

6.3    Vegetation

The CALM Moora District falls within the South-West Botanical Province (Beard 1980) and includes parts of

the Irwin, Avon and Darling Botanical Districts.  The flora of the District is very diverse, with areas of high

species-richness including the northern sandplains and the Gairdner Range.

The Swan Coastal Plain, the Drummond Subdistrict of the Darling Botanical District, extends north from the

Moore River to just south of Green Head.  Its eastern boundary is the Darling Scarp.  It has mainly yellow sandy

soils and is low lying, with dune systems and swampy areas.  Banksia low woodland occurs on leached sands

with melaleuca



  swamps in wet areas and there are a few areas of jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) and marri

(

E. calophylla) woodland on less leached soils, mainly on the eastern side.  In the south, there are rare

occurrences of tuart (

E. gomphocephala) woodland.   Scrub heath occurs on limestone, heath with patches of

thicket on the sand ridges, and heath in the swamps.

The north east side of the Drummond Subdistrict includes the Dandaragan Plateau which lies between the Gingin

Scarp and the Darling Fault from the southern boundary of the Moora District north to about Dinner Hill.  The

sedimentary rocks of the Plateau give rise in the western half, to brownish sands or loamy sands with gravel

beneath, which supported marri woodland, although most has now been cleared as these are good agricultural

soils.  The eastern half of the Plateau has deep sands, most of which are covered with banksia low woodland, and

in the southern part where the sand overlies laterite, there are heaths in which 



Dryandra species are dominant.

xi

South of Moora and to the east of the Darling Fault, running from Mogumber east to New Norcia, the Moora

District includes a small section of the northern part of the Dale Subdistrict of the Darling Botanical District.

This area has wandoo (



Eucalyptus wandoo) and York gum (E. loxophleba) woodland on lateritic gravels and is

part of the Northern Jarrah Forest Subregion, which does not extend further north due to lower rainfall, jarrah

only extending to about 10 km south of the southern boundary of the Moora District on the Great Northern

Highway.  The ridges support dryandra heath.

The north-western part of the District is included in the Irwin Botanical District (the Northern Sandplains

Region).  This area is underlain by sedimentary rocks, which form a series of plateaux at the same level as the

Dandaragan Plateau.  These have been eroded on the western side and are broken up by rivers, but the uneroded

surfaces form extensive sandplains, supporting rich heathlands, the kwongan or scrub heaths.  On the coast, as is

found further south, there are two distinct dune systems, corresponding to the Spearwood and Quindalup

Systems.  The consolidated dunes north from Jurien to the Arrowsmith River support scrub heath on the

limestone with illyarrie (

E. erythrocorys).  Further north this species occurs in thickets of Acacia, Melaleuca and

Allocasuarina.  The Eneabba Plain consists of mineral-rich deposits of beach sands, which support scattered

small trees of pricklybark (



Etodtiana), over tall shrubs and species rich low heath.  Where fires are frequent,

low shrubs predominate. 

Within the Irwin Botanical District lies the Lesueur National Park and Coomallo Nature Reserve which are

situated inland from the town of Jurien, ca. 220 km north of Perth.  The area has an exceptionally diverse flora,

with 800 species, representing nearly 6.2 percent of the State’s known vascular flora.  The Lesueur National Park

has seven species of declared rare flora, nine endemic taxa, 111 regionally endemic taxa and 81 taxa at their

northern or southern limits.  The heath on the lateritic uplands and sandstones forms an intricate mosaic of

vegetation units, whilst deeper soils on lower areas support woodland of wandoo, marri and powderbark wandoo

(

E. accedens). 

The southern boundary of the Irwin District runs eastwards through the southerly part of the Watheroo National

Park as far east as Dalwallinu.  These areas have lower rainfall and on deep sands the 

Banksia-Xylomelum

community has shrubs to 3 m (or 6 m if long unburnt) including 



Banksia attenuata, B. burdettii, B. prionotes and

woody pear (



Xylomelum angustifolium) with Actinostrobus arenarius and Grevillea leucopteris.  From

Dalwallinu, the eastern boundary of the Irwin District runs north westwards to Coorow then north through Three

Springs.  To the east of this boundary lies the Avon Botanical District (the Wheatbelt Region).  Two sections of

the Avon District occur on the eastern side of the Moora District, with its western boundary approximately along

the Darling fault.  The southerly section runs from Calingiri north to Moora and Watheroo and east to the

Dalwallinu area.  Now largely cleared, much of this part of the District originally supported woodland of wandoo

and York gum, or York gum and salmon gum on loams, and scrub heath on the sandplains, 

Acacia-Allocasuarina

thickets on ironstone gravels and 



Melaleuca thickets and samphires on salt flats.

The northern wheatbelt section occurring in the Moora District is situated from southeast of Coorow, north with

its westerly margin along the Midlands Highway, then north from Three Springs.  This is similar to the southern

section.


7.

Botanical History of the Moora District

The District was explored by Europeans as early as 1801, when an expedition in the French ship



 Naturaliste,

under the command of Captain Hamelin, visited the coast, naming Jurien Bay, Mt Lesueur and Mt Peron, after a

naval administrator and the expedition’s artist and naturalist, respectively. 

After the foundation of the Swan River Colony in 1829, more extensive exploration took place.  John Septimus

Roe, Surveyor General, led an expedition in 1836 from York, reaching the site of New Norcia after travelling

further east.  Plant specimens were collected during this expedition.

Capt. George Grey’s exploration party marched south in 1839 along the coastal strip from the Murchison River

to Perth, after losing their boats at the mouth of the Murchison.

Extensive botanical exploration and collecting was first undertaken by James Drummond who arrived with

Captain Stirling’s colonising party as honorary Government Naturalist.  He settled at Toodyay where he farmed



xii

and added to his income by collecting botanical specimens for sale to patrons in Europe.  In the summer of 1841

he, with his son and two other settlers, went north from Toodyay to the Victoria Plains, which extend from north-

east of New Norcia northwards (Erickson 1969).  In 1842 he made two collecting trips to that area, reaching the

site of Moora on the first trip and travelling further east to the Wongan Hills (east of the Moora District) on the

second.


In 1850 he visited the station of his son, James, at Dandaragan and collected in that area.  He continued north

with a party overlanding stock from the Swan to Champion Bay (Geraldton) by way of the Lesueur-Coomallo

area, where he noted the exceptional richness of the area, and the Arrowsmith and Irwin Rivers.

Ludwig Preiss, a German botanist, visited the Victoria Plains in 1839 and made collections which he distributed

to European herbaria on his return to Germany in 1842.  They were labelled “Quangen Plains, Victoria”

(Lehmann 1844).

L. Diels and E. Pritzel, German botanists, visited Moora on a journey to Geraldton early in 1901, and also visited

Dandaragan in December of that year (Diels 1906).

In the east of the District, the Midland Railway reached Moora in 1894, so that land along the line and within

easy reach of it was mostly taken up for agricultural settlement by 1900.  This was also the case around

Dandaragan.  At that time the sandplains could not be used for crop farming and there was little settlement

between Dandaragan, Watheroo and the coast, apart from fishing settlements at Jurien Bay, Green Head and an

isolated farm at Cockleshell Gully.  However, advances in farming techniques allowed the sandplains to be

worked from the 1950s, further decreasing the remaining areas of natural vegetation. 

Charles Gardner, who was appointed Government Botanist in 1929, collected extensively in the District over the

next thirty years.  He visited the Lesueur area several times between 1931 and 1946 and recommended that the

area should be reserved.  This important area was subsequently the subject of several studies (Griffin and

Hopkins 1985 and Martinick and Associates 1988).  A comprehensive report on the Lesueur area was published

with much information on the vegetation and flora (Burbidge 

et al. 1990) and in 1992 the Lesueur National Park

was gazetted as a Class ‘A’ reserve for national park.

N. Speck carried out fieldwork in the District for his thesis on the vegetation of the Irwin District (Speck 1958)

and John Beard carried out fieldwork for vegetation mapping from 1962 onwards, particularly from 1973-77

(Beard 1976a, 1976b, 1979a, 1979b).

Considerable recent study has been undertaken in the important area of the Northern Sandplains, which is

roughly equivalent to the Irwin Botanical District (George 

et al. 1979, Griffin et al. 1983, Griffin and Keighery

1989, Griffin 1990, 1992, 1994).

Numerous other studies have been made on a more local scale, many relating to reserves and areas of potential

mining in the District (e.g. Bell and Loneragan (1985), Burbidge and Boscacci (1989), Crook 



et al. (1984),

Elkington and Griffin (1984), Elkington (1987), Foulds and McMillan (1985), Froend (1988), Griffin (1991),

Hopkins and Hnatiuk (1981) and Lamont (1976).

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