Nature conservation

Biodiversity Reform

Channel Country - regional history

Aboriginal occupation

The Karenggapa people traditionally occupied the far northwest corner of NSW at the Qld border (HO and DUAP 1996).

For further information on the Aboriginal occupation of the Channel Country Bioregion, see an overview of the Aboriginal occupation of western NSW.

European occupation

Charles Sturt reached the Darling River near Bourke in 1829 but did not venture further west until 1844-45 when his expedition became trapped near Milparinka from February to July 1845 due to drought (NSW NPWS 1991). James Poole, a member of the expedition, died there and was buried near Mt Poole, just northwest of Milparinka.

Sturt's problems with drought did not discourage squatters from settling along the Darling River between 1847-1857. Pastoralists had ventured into the bioregion by 1878, taking up huge runs in order to support their sheep and cattle (NSW NPWS 1991).

Most of this land was occupied under pastoral leases during the 1880s and although overstocking occurred across the far west, droughts at the turn of the century tended to reduce grazing capacities in the area (NSW NPWS 1991).

Dingoes proved to be a problem for pastoralists as they, along with the droughts, reduced sheep numbers until dingo fences were built and a strategic hunting program was undertaken (NSW NPWS 1991).

Gold was discovered at Mt Poole and Mt Brown near Milparinka in 1880, stimulating a short period of mining success in the area, and by 1890 the population of the area was large enough to warrant the publication of a local newspaper, the Milparinka Advertiser (NSW NPWS 1991).

Tibooburra, like many other towns far removed from the major rivers, owes its existence to mineral discovery (HO and DUAP 1996). Three mineral deposits are currently being mined, or will potentially be mined in the bioregion (CSIRO 1996).

Sir Sidney Kidman was one of the great pastoralists of the far northwest corner of NSW. He worked on several stations in the 1870s and 1880s and learnt the ways of the land, often with the aid of a local Aborigine (NSW NPWS 1991).

Kidman was successful in his attempts to connect Tibooburra with towns along the Darling and Gipps Station (what was to become Broken Hill) via supply routes. Cobb and Co. coaches (NSW NPWS 1991) linked Milparinka to Wilcannia in 1883.

Throughout the bioregion, including the interstate components, an average of 0.15 head of cattle is grazed per hectares, and 0 per cent is affected by intensive production (CSIRO 1996).

There is no commercial forestry of State forests tenure in the bioregion.

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Page last updated: 26 April 2016