Sunday, March 23, 2008

Abercrombie River National Park

Abercrombie River National Park preserves the largest remaining intact patch of low open forest in the south-west central tablelands area. Casuarinas stand beside deep waterholes on the park's three main waterways. Camp on the banks of the Retreat or Abercrombie Rivers and fish for trout, go swimming or canoeing in the waterholes (when not in drought conditions).

Abercrombie River and Retreat River are important habitats for platypuses and eastern water rats. Wallaroos, red-necked wallabies, swamp wallabies and eastern grey kangaroos are often seen in the eucalypt forest.

Access 120 km west of Sydney, 40 km south of Oberon along Goulburn Road (unsealed).Oberon, phone 6336 1972The park varies widely in altitude and geology. In the north-east, the landscape reaches 1128m above sea level, and you'll find rich volcanic soils. The southern end of the park is much lower - only 500m at the Abercrombie River - and has much poorer soils from sedimentary rock. This landscape diversity has led to a wide variety of plant communities. In the high-altitude areas in the eastern section of the park, you'll find mountain gums and peppermint, which is typical of the Southern Tablelands. This type of plant community has been much reduced elsewhere, due to land clearing for pine plantations and forestry.

At lower altitudes, there are open forests of inland scribbly gum and red stringy bark. Along the rivers and creeks, there are tall river oaks, tea trees and bottlebrushes.Argyle apple grows in this park. This is close to the northern limit of its distribution.Wallaroos, red-necked wallabies, swamp wallabies and eastern grey kangaroos are often seen in the park's eucalypt forests. Wombats and echidnas live on the slopes and river flats.Up in the trees, there are greater gliders, sugar gliders, brush-tailed possums and ring-tailed possums. Over 60 species of birds are also found in the park - including the peregrine falcon.Down by the park's rivers, you might be lucky enough to see a platypus.

If not, you might spot a Gippsland water dragon, sunning itself on a rock during the warmer months. You'll also hear the calls of a variety of frog species.The rivers and creeks are home to trout cod and Macquarie perch, both of which are protected by law. River blackfish, silver perch and Murray Cray are also found here - all of these species are rare in the region. If you catch a trout cod, Macquarie perch or silver perch, you must carefully return it to the water.


The rivers and creeks throughout the park offered food and shelter for local Aboriginal tribes, possibly the Wiradjuri or Gundungarra people. These tribes probably used the Abercrombie River as a trading route for stone tools and even shells from the coast. The land and waterways, and the plants and animals that live in them, feature in all facets of Aboriginal culture – including recreational, ceremonial, and spiritual and as a main source of food and medicine. They are associated with dreaming stories and cultural learning that is still passed on today. We work with local Aboriginal communities to protect this rich heritage.

To find out more about Aboriginal heritage in the park, you can get in touch with the local Aboriginal community. Contact the park office for more details. The area that now forms the national park was prospected during the 19th century gold-rushes, and there are still some diggings, water races and sluice boxes left behind by the miners. There's also an early 20th century wattle-and-daub hut in the park.

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