Nature conservation

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South Eastern Highlands - subregions

Subregions of the South Eastern Highlands Bioregion
SubregionGeologyCharacteristic landformsTypical soilsVegetation
Hill End Silurian and Devonian slates, sandstones and volcanics with numerous quartz veins. Steeply dipping, tightly folded sequence. Tertiary basalt caps with river gravels parallel to the main streams. Plateau with hilly to mountainous edges into deep entrenched channels of Turon and Macquarie River cutting across the structural trends. Mottled red and yellow texture contrast soils, with red earths. Yellow box, red box and Blakely's red gum on lower areas, red stringybark, broad-leaved peppermint and white gum on hills. Brown barrel in the east. Areas of white box. River oak along main streams.
Orange Ordovician acid volcanics and slates and phyllites and Silurian volcanics. Extensive Tertiary basalts from Canobolas and small stocks of granite. Limited limestone and serpentinite. Low hilly to hilly plateau with Canobolas peaks rising above. Numerous volcanic features: plugs, dykes and domes in the Canobolas complex. Karst landscapes at Borenore and Molong. Deep structures red and brown loams on basalt and fine metasediments. Mellow texture contrast soils on any slopes with a sand component in the bedrock. Alluvial loams and black clays in swampy valley floors. Limited areas of shallow organic loams at high altitude on Canobolas. Yellow box and Blakely's red gum with red stringybark, white gum, broad-leaved peppermint across most of the plateau. Ribbon gum on lower slopes, snow gum in cold patches and high levels of Canobolas. River oak along main streams.
Bathurst Carboniferous granite with limited areas of Tertiary basalt caps and Quaternary sands along the Macquarie River. Rounded hills in a granite basin surrounded by steep slopes on the contact margin. Outcrops with tors near margins. Chain of ponds streams in wide flat valley floors. Terrace alluvium along the Macquarie River. Shallow red earths on ridges, yellow texture contrast soils on all slopes and deep coarse sands in alluvium. Apple box, yellow box, some white box and red stringybark. Ribbon gums on lower slopes and brown barrel in the east. Patches of black cypress pine in rocky outcrop areas. River oak along streams.
Kanangra Devonian sandstones with small areas of granite and fine-grained Silurian and Ordovician sediments at the edge of the Sydney Basin. Ridges and small plateaus to 1200 m, deep valleys, swampy upper tributary floors, outcrops and tors on granite hills. Red and yellow earths and structured loams. Well drained slopes, moderate fertility. Grey gum, Blaxland's stringybark on lower areas, and brown barrel, mountain gum, narrow-leaved peppermint and ribbon gum on higher areas. Patches of snow gum. High diversity swamps on Boyd Plateau with carex and tea tree, sphagnum bogs in streams.
Oberon Fine grained Silurian and Devonian slates, shales and sandstones with Ordovician acid volcanics. Basalt caps and flows on highest crests. Rounded and stepped hills of plateau, dendritic drainage pattern parallels basalts on crests and ridges. Red and yellow texture contrast soils on slopes, well-structured deep red loams on basalt. Moderately fertile soils but cold environment. Narrow-leaved peppermint, mountain gum and some snow gum on high areas. Apple box, yellow box, ribbon gum and Blakely's red gum in the west.
Crookwell Fine grained Ordovician and Silurian sedimentary rocks, with some granites. Tertiary basalts with buried river gravels along ridges well above present streams. Hilly, with some rugged areas and deep valleys. Hill tops may be small plateaus or capped by basalt and showing inverted relief. Red and yellow texture contrast soils, thin and stony on steep slopes. Stony brown structured loams on basalts. Apple box, mountain gum with Blakely's red gum and yellow box. Red stringybark, white box, broad-leaved peppermint and mottled gum on stony ridges in the north. Small areas of Argyle apple.
Bungonia Primarily fine-grained Palaeozoic sedimentary and meta-sedimentary rocks, with minor areas of acid volcanics and limestone. Areas of Tertiary river terrestrial sediments and low sandsheets in the south with very limited basalt. Distinct plateau with very steep, deep margins on the Great Escarpment dropping into the Shoalhaven River. Strong linear ridges on resistant sandstones and volcanics, wide valleys with some cold air drainage and inverted tree lines. Mostly yellow texture contrast soils some with harsh clay subsoils. Shallow structured organic loams on limestone and basalt, deep siliceous sands and clayey sands on Tertiary sediments. Mottled gum, broad-leaved peppermint, white gum, red stringybark and black ash forests and woodlands.



Snow gum with and snow grass in cold pockets. Black she-oak common as understorey and in regeneration areas. Limited distribution of argyle apple.

Murrumbateman Fine-grained Palaeozoic sedimentary and meta-sedimentary rocks, with minor areas of coarse acid volcanics. Tertiary alluvial terraces along main streams. Undulating plateau with rounded hills and peaks, entrenched meandering streams with chain of ponds tributaries. Mottled yellow and brown texture contrast soils with strongly bleached topsoils. Dark organic loams and clay loams on valley floors. Saline patches present. Blakely's red gum, yellow box, on lower slopes, red stringybark, bundy and white gum on ridges. Areas of apple box, and mottled gum. Limited swampy flats and valley floor grasslands.
Western Fall Silurian and Devonian acid intrusives, fine-grained Palaeozoic sedimentary and meta-sedimentary rocks and areas of granite. Rugged hills, with small plateau areas. Steep stony slopes and string structural control on ridge lines. Red earths and red texture contrast soils. Typically thin and stony on slopes, thickening on footslopes, and becoming yellow and harsh on valley floors. Narrow-leaved peppermint, red stringybark, ribbon gum, and mountain gum open forests.
Monaro Block faulted ranges and closed lake basins in Silurian and Devonian acid fine grained sedimentary and metamorphic rocks with some granites. Extensive areas of thin Tertiary basalt flows over lake and river sediments. Sloping plateau rising from 600 to 1300 m north to south. Structural ridges of more resistant rock. Stepped plains on basalt with intervening low areas of granite or sedimentary rocks.



Numerous shallow lakes and swamps, a few permanent many are closed basins and periodically dry. Area is in rainshadow with rainfall 450-700mm.

Harsh yellow texture contrast soils in general. Shallow red brown to black stony loams on basalt. Snow gum, ribbon gum, candle-bark gum, broad-leaved peppermint and mountain gum open woodlands with Kangaroo grass understorey. White gum, mottled gum on hills. Brown barrel and black ash forests in east with west facing patches of dwarf casuarina heathland. Extensive grasslands of snow grass, spear grass and wallaby grass on the driest plains with clumps of snow gum amongst rocky outcrops.

From Morgan 2001

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Page last updated: 18 April 2016