Kosciuszko National Park

The Kosciuszko National Park /ˌkɒziˈʌskoʊ/[1] is a 6,900-square-kilometre (2,700 sq mi) national park and contains mainland Australia's highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko, for which it is named, and Cabramurra the highest town in Australia. Its borders contain a mix of rugged mountains and wilderness, characterised by an alpine climate, which makes it popular with recreational skiers and bushwalkers.

The park is located in the southeastern corner of New South Wales, 354 km (220 mi) southwest of Sydney, and is contiguous with the Alpine National Park in Victoria to the south, and the Namadgi National Park in the Australian Capital Territory to the northeast. The larger towns of Cooma, Tumut and Jindabyne lie just outside and service the park.

The waters of the Snowy River, the Murray River, and Gungarlin River all rise in this park. Other notable peaks in the park include Gungartan, Mount Jagungal, Bimberi Peak and Mount Townsend.

On 7 November 2008, the Park was added to the Australian National Heritage List as one of eleven areas constituting the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves.[2]

Kosciuszko National Park
New South Wales
IUCN category II (national park)
Kosciuszko National Park is located in New South Wales
Kosciuszko National Park
Kosciuszko National Park
Nearest town or cityCabramurra
Coordinates36°04′20″S 148°20′55″E / 36.07222°S 148.34861°ECoordinates: 36°04′20″S 148°20′55″E / 36.07222°S 148.34861°E
Established1 October 1967
Area6,900 km2 (2,664.1 sq mi)
Visitation4,000
Managing authoritiesNSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
WebsiteKosciuszko National Park
See alsoProtected areas of
New South Wales

History

Kiandra carnival 1900 Charles Kerry.jpeg
Kiandra Snow Shoe Carnival 1900
Cabramurra July 2011
Cabramurra, Australia's highest town, was built during construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

The Snowy Mountains region is thought to have had Aboriginal occupation for some twenty thousand years, though harsh winter weather made habitation of the snow country impossible. Large-scale intertribal gatherings were held in the High Country during summer for collective feasting on the Bogong moth. This practice continued until around 1864.[3]

The area was first explored by Europeans in 1835, and in 1840, Edmund Strzelecki ascended Mount Kosciuszko and named it after a Polish patriot. High-country stockmen followed, using the Snowy Mountains for grazing during the summer months. Banjo Paterson's famous poem The Man From Snowy River recalls this era. The cattle graziers have left a legacy of mountain huts scattered across the area.[4] Today these huts are maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Service or volunteer organisations like the Kosciuszko Huts Association.[5] In the 19th century, gold was mined on the high plains near Kiandra.[6] At its height, this community had a population of about 4,000 people, and ran 14 hotels. It was here that Skiing in Australia commenced around 1861. Since the last resident left in 1974, Kiandra has become a ghost town of ruins and abandoned diggings.[7] In the 20th century, the focus of Skiing in New South Wales shifted south closer to the Kosciuszko Main Range.

The Kosciuszko National Park came into existence as the National Chase Snowy Mountains on 5 December 1906. In April 1944, following the passage of the Kosciusko State Park Act, the Kosciuszko State Park was proclaimed.[6][8][9] It then became the Kosciuszko National Park in 1967.[10] The name was misspelt as Kosciusko until 1997.[6]

The construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme between 1949–74 saw much of the area explored, brought improvements to roads and resulted in the construction of several dams and tunnels across the Park in one of the world's largest engineering achievements

Heritage listings

Kosciuszko National Park has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Climate

The higher regions of the park experience an alpine climate which is unusual on mainland Australia. However, only the peaks of the main range are subject to consistent heavy winter snow. The climate station at Charlotte Pass recorded Australia's lowest temperature of −23 °C (−9 °F) on 28 June 1994.[12]

Glaciation

AU Kosciuszko L Cootapatamba
Lake Cootapatamba in the characteristically U shaped glacial valley, Kosciuszko National Park.

During the last ice age, which peaked about 20,000 years ago in the Pleistocene epoch, the highest peaks of the main range near Mount Kosciuszko experienced a climate which favoured the formation of glaciers, evidence of which can still be seen today. Cirques moraines, tarn lakes, roche moutonnées and other glacial features can all be seen in the area. Lake Cootapatamba, which was formed by an ice spilling from Mount Kosciuszko's southern flank, is the highest lake on the Australian mainland. Lake Albina, Club Lake, Blue Lake, and Hedley Tarn also have glacial origins.[13]

There is some disagreement as to exactly how widespread Pleistocene glaciation was on the main range, and little or no evidence from earlier glacial periods exists. The 'David Moraine', a one-kilometre-long ridge running across Spencers Creek valley seems to indicate a larger glacier existed in this area at some time, however the glacial origin of this feature is disputed.[14]

There is evidence of periglacial activity in the area. Solifluction appears to have created terraces on the northwest flank of Mount Northcote. Frost heave is also a significant agent of soil erosion in the Kosciuszko Area.

Ecology

Snow Gum on the Dead Horse Gap Walk
Snow Gum at tree line along Dead Horse Gap Walk, Kosciuszko National Park.

The Kosciuszko National Park covers a variety of climatic regions which support several distinct ecosystems.

That which is most closely identified with the park, the alpine area above the tree line, is one of the most fragile and covers the smallest area. This area is a patchwork of alpine heaths, herbfields, feldmarks, bogs and fens. The windswept feldmark ecotope is endemic to the alpine region, and covers a mere 300,000 m2 (3,200,000 sq ft). It is most vulnerable to the wandering footsteps of unmindful tourists.

Nine separate wilderness zones have been identified in the latest management scheme.[15] These include the Indi, Byadbo, Pilot, Jagungal, Bogong Peaks, Goobarragandra, Western Falls, Bramina and Bimberi wilderness areas.

Fauna

Many rare or threatened plant and animal species occur within the boundaries of the park.

The park is home to one of Australia's most threatened species: the corroboree frog. The endangered mountain pygmy possum and the more common dusky antechinus are located in the high country of the park.

There are also significant populations of feral animals in the park, including brumbies or wild horses. Park authorities have coordinated their culling and relocation,[16] leading to public controversy over how to reduce their numbers. The actual number of horses within the park is also difficult to ascertain with estimates ranging from 1700 in 2008 increasing by 300 each year,[17] 7679 in 2009,[18] and from 2500 to 14,000 in 2013-2014.[19][20][21]In 2016 the population was estimated to be 6000.[22]

Flora

Kosciuszko National Park map Stevage
Map of the national park. The Australian Alps Walking Track is shown in yellow.

Much of the park is dominated by alpine woodlands, characterised by the snow gum. Montane and wet sclerophyll forest also occur across the ranges, supporting large stands of alpine ash and mountain gum. In the southern Byadbo wilderness area, dry sclerophyll and wattle forests predominate. Amongst the many different native trees in the park, the large Chinese elm has become naturalised.

Much of the tree cover in the lower sections of the park was seriously burned in bushfires in 2003. Fires are a natural feature of the park ecosystem, but it will take some time for the region to return to its pre 2003 condition.

Recreational uses

Thredbo-River Crackenback
A tranquil section of Thredbo River

Winter

The mountains are typically covered by metre-deep snow for up to four months of the year.[6] The ski resorts of Thredbo, Selwyn snowfields, Perisher and Charlotte Pass lie within the park. The electric rack railway, called the Skitube Alpine Railway, connects the Alpine Way to the Perisher Valley.

Summer

The 655 kilometre Australian Alps Walking Track crosses almost the length of the park. Many thousands of people make the walk to Mount Kosciuszko during the summer. It is 9 kilometres from Charlotte Pass, or 6 kilometres from the Thredbo chairlift. Camping is permitted anywhere in the park except within sight of a road or near a watercourse. The lighting of fires is severely restricted in higher altitudes.[6]

Mountain biking is allowed on all management trails outside of wilderness areas, and on a small number within them: Grey Mare Trail, Round Mountain Trail, Valentine Trail, Hellhole Creek Trail, Cascade Trail, Ingegoodbee Trail and Nine Mile Trail.[23]

Canoeing and swimming in the rivers and lakes are popular in the warmer weather.[6] The rivers and dams are stocked with trout from nearby hatcheries. Seasonal trout fishing is allowed after a permit is obtained. Other attractions include the whitewater rafting, trail riding, Yarrangobilly Caves, Cooleman Caves, Tin Mine Falls, Australia's highest waterfall and Valentine Falls. Guided tours are conducted through several caves in the karst region of Yarrangobilly. Other tours are also available.

Sawpit Creek has a major campground with facilities for caravans and cabins available for rent.[6]

The Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme

The Snowy River originates in the park and flows south to Victoria. Many tunnels, dams, generators and other parts of the Snowy Mountains Scheme hydro-electric system are located within the park, including the Tantangara Reservoir.

The Snowy Scheme, constructed between 1949 and 1974, is a hydroelectricity and irrigation complex consisting of sixteen major dams; seven power stations; a pumping station; and 225 kilometres of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts. The Chief engineer was Sir William Hudson. It is the largest engineering project undertaken in Australia.[24][25][26]

See also

References

  1. ^ Kosciuszko: Reflections on YouTube
  2. ^ "Australian Alps National Parks information". Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  3. ^ Kiandra Historical Society
  4. ^ http://www.kosciuskohuts.org.au/ Kosciuszko Huts Association
  5. ^ Kosciuszko Huts Association
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Hema Maps (1997). Discover Australia's National Parks. Milsons Point, New South Wales: Random House Australia. pp. 112–115. ISBN 1-875992-47-2.
  7. ^ "DECC Kosciuszko National Park". DECC National Parks website. Retrieved 24 April 2009.
  8. ^ "KOSCIUSKO STATE PARK". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 1 November 1944. p. 7. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Kosciusko State Park Act 1944" (PDF). AustLit. p. 1. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Top of Australia hosts park's centenary". ABC News Australia. 5 December 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Currango Homestead". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H00983. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  12. ^ "1301.0 – Year Book Australia, 2008". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2008.
  13. ^ West,D.,(1994) Kosciuszko Natural Heritage.
  14. ^ Galloway, RW (1963), Glaciation in the Snowy Mountains: A Re-appraisal
  15. ^ DECC | Kosciuszko National Park – plan of management Archived 3 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Environmentalists call for aerial brumby cull". ABC News. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
  17. ^ "Environmentalists call for aerial brumby cull". ABC News. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  18. ^ Dawson, Michelle. "2009 Aerial Survey of feral Horses in the Australian Alps" (PDF). The Australian Alps. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  19. ^ Thistleton, John (26 July 2014). "Kosciuszko wild horses should be culled, says activist". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  20. ^ Singhal, Pallavi; Elliot, Tim (3 January 2015). "Aerial culling of brumbies in Snowy Mountains: controversial ban to remain". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  21. ^ "Wild horses 'damaging alpine ecosystem'". The Canberra Times. AAP. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  22. ^ "NSW Government to cull 90pc of brumbies in Kosciusko National Park over next 20 years". abc.net.au. ABC News. 1 May 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  23. ^ "Trails in Kosciuszko" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 January 2015.
  24. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics 1986 Special Article: The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme
  25. ^ The Snowy Mountains Scheme Archived 30 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Wendy Lewis, Simon Balderstone and John Bowan (2006). Events That Shaped Australia. New Holland. pp. 189–194. ISBN 978-1-74110-492-9.

External links

Bimberi Peak

Bimberi Peak or Mount Bimberi with an elevation of 1,913 metres (6,276 ft) located within the Brindabella Ranges is the highest mountain in the Australian Capital Territory. It is located on the border between New South Wales and the ACT, the NSW portion in Kosciuszko National Park and the ACT portion in Namadgi National Park. It is accessible by bush walking trails and requires no specialised climbing skills, although there is no marked trail to the very summit.

Blue Lake (New South Wales)

The Blue Lake is one of only four cirque lakes found in mainland Australia. The other three, Cootapatamba, Albina, and Club, are shallower and are held entirely by terminal moraines. Blue Lake's valley contains the best-developed glacial features in the Kosciuszko National Park alpine area of New South Wales. It was recognised as a wetland of international importance on 17 March 1996 when a 320-hectare (790-acre) area, comprising the lake and its surrounds, including nearby Hedley Tarn, was designated Ramsar Site 800 under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands. The lake lies within the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves.

Cootapatamba Hut

Cootapatamba Hut is a survival shelter in the river valley south of Mount Kosciuszko, in the Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia.

Deep Creek Dam (Tumbarumba, New South Wales)

Deep Creek Dam is a major ungated concrete gravity dam across the Deep Creek in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's main purpose is for the generation of hydro-power and is the smallest of the sixteen major dams that comprise the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974 and now run by Snowy Hydro.

The impounded reservoir is called the Deep Creek Reservoir.

Eucumbene Dam

Eucumbene Dam is a major gated earthfill embankment dam with an overflow ski-jump and bucket spillway with two vertical lift gates across the Eucumbene River in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's main purpose is for the generation of hydro-power and is one of the sixteen major dams that comprise the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974 and now run by Snowy Hydro.

The impounded reservoir is called Lake Eucumbene, the largest storage lake in the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Geehi Dam

Geehi Dam is a major ungated rockfill embankment dam with an uncontrolled morning glory spillway spillway across the Geehi River in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's main purpose is for the generation of hydro-power and is one of the sixteen major dams that comprise the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974 and now run by Snowy Hydro.

The impounded reservoir is called the Geehi Reservoir.

Guthega Dam

Guthega Dam is concrete gravity dam with an uncontrolled spillway across the Snowy River in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's main purpose is for the storage of water used in the generation of hydro-power . It is the first to be completed of the sixteen major dams of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974 and now run by Snowy Hydro.

The impounded reservoir is called Guthega Pondage.

Happy Jacks Dam

Happy Jacks Dam is a major ungated concrete gravity dam across the Tumut River in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's main purpose is for the generation of hydro-power and is one of the sixteen major dams that comprise the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974 and now run by Snowy Hydro.

The impounded reservoir is called the Happy Jacks Pondage. The dam wall is immediately downstream of the confluence of Happy Jacks Creek and the Tumut River.

Island Bend Dam

Island Bend Dam is a major ungated concrete gravity dam with a controlled spillway across the Snowy River in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's main purpose is for the generation of hydro-power and is one of the sixteen major dams that comprise the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974 and now run by Snowy Hydro.

The impounded reservoir is called the Island Bend Pondage.

Khancoban Dam

Khancoban Dam is a major ungated earthfill embankment dam with a controlled spillway across the Swampy Plain River in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's main purpose is for the generation of hydro-power and is one of the sixteen major dams that comprise the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974 and now run by Snowy Hydro.

The impounded reservoir is called the Khancoban Reservoir.

Lake Albina

Lake Albina is a glacial lake in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. The lake is located within the Kosciuszko National Park and the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves.

Lake Albina is located about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) north of Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia. The 6,600-square-metre (71,000 sq ft) lake is approximately 500 metres (1,600 ft) long and 50 metres (160 ft) wide. It is located in a ravine, with Mount Townsend to the west and Mount Lee and Mount Northcote to the east. Lake Albina drains northwards towards the Geehi River through Lady Northcote's canyon.

Lake Cootapatamba

Lake Cootapatamba is a post-glacial tarn in the Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia.

Lake Cootapatamba is located at 2,048 metres, which is about 800 metres south of the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia. It is the highest altitude lake in Australia. It is 400 metres long with a maximum depth of about 5 metres.

Little River (Snowy River National Park)

The Little River is a perennial river of the Snowy River catchment, located in the Alpine region of the Australian state of Victoria. It is one of two rivers of the same name that are tributaries of the Snowy River, the other being the Little River (Kosciuszko National Park).

Murray Two Dam

Murray Two Dam or Murray 2 Dam is a major ungated concrete arch dam with a controlled spillway across Khancoban Bank, a diverted flow of the Snowy and Geehi rivers in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's main purpose is for the generation of hydro-power and is one of the sixteen major dams that comprise the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974 and now run by Snowy Hydro.

The impounded reservoir is called the Murray Two Pondage or Murray 2 Pondage.

Rams Head

The Rams Head is a mountain located in the Ramshead Range of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.

With an elevation of 2,190 metres (7,190 ft) above sea level, its summit is the fourth highest mountain in New South Wales and the fourth highest mountain in Australia. The mountain is contained within the Kosciuszko National Park. The summit of the mountain offers views of the Main Range.

Located south of Mount Kosciuszko, the mountain attracts hikers in the summer, and during the winter months is covered with snow for back country skiers and alpine touring.

Seaman's Hut

Seaman's Hut is an alpine hut and memorial located in New South Wales, Australia. It was built following the death of two skiers, W. Laurie Seaman and Evan Hayes in 1928. Laurie's family built the hut to provide shelter to future users of the park, in order to prevent recurrence of a similar tragedy.

Seaman's hut is constructed from rock and has two rooms and a foyer for firewood storage. The floor is plank flooring.

It is located on Etheridge Range, 6 km from Charlottes Pass on the road to Mount Kosciusko.

Thredbo River

The Thredbo River, a perennial river of the Snowy River catchment, is located in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia.

Tin Mine Falls

The Tin Mine Falls is a cascade waterfall located in the remote Pilot Wilderness Area within the Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. Described from top to bottom, the falls consist of non-segmented tiered cascades over bedrock with a few smaller plunges, followed by a single large plunge into a pool. The falls are recessed into a punchbowl feature making it impossible to view the entire waterfall from a single location on the ground.

Valentine Falls

The Valentine Falls is a waterfall on the Valentine Creek in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia.Located in the Kosciuszko National Park at an elevation of 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level, the falls are a short walk away from Valentine Hut. The waterfall flows in many sections with several pools.

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