The conservation area is on the boundary between two Aboriginal tribal groups, the Anaiwan and the Moonbahlene. The rugged terrain, poor food supply and limited natural shelter on the Mole Tableland made it inhospitable for Aboriginal groups. The western section of the reserve was often avoided both because of the difficult terrain and links to death and burial ceremonies. A number of open campsites in the eastern section suggest it was more hospitable for travelling, hunting and camping. These areas are significant to local Aboriginal people today.
The land and waterways, and the plants and animals that live in them, feature in all facets of Aboriginal culture - including recreational, ceremonial, 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.
History in the park
Although settled by pastoralists in the 1840s, the Mole Tableland became well known after the discovery of tin in the 1870s. The unusually rich tin deposits on this tableland quickly drew hundreds of prospectors and miners. These included many English miners from Cornwall and Devon who understood shaft mining, and Chinese miners skilled in working the alluvial surface deposits. Within years, the area was renamed Torrington (after an English town in Devonshire) and mining companies took up most of the leases, supplying international markets with tin, as well as wolfram (tungsten) and bismuth.
Mining activity peaked around 1920 when Torrington and nearby villages served about 600 miners. Torrington was then a bustling town with five general stores, a butcher, a baker, a courthouse, a police station, a post office, two churches and a hotel.
Mining activity declined sharply after 1946, when the government reduced its wartime subsidy on the price of tin. There are many mining relics scattered throughout the conservation area, including miner's huts, the foundations of batteries and processing sites, mine shafts, tailings and township ruins.