Gondwana Rainforests of Australia | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Gondwana Rainforests of Australia

Item details

Name of item: Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
Other name/s: Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves, Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (new name from 2007), North East Rainforests World Heritage Area;
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Natural
Category: Wilderness
Location: Lat: -29.3110294636 Long: 152.3701718570
Primary address: , Various, NSW
Local govt. area: Multiple LGAs
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Baryulgil


Also refer to http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/world/gondwana
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 VariousMultiple LGAs  Primary Address
 VariousGloucester  Alternate Address
 VariousDungog  Alternate Address
 VariousBellingen  Alternate Address
 VariousGlen Innes Severn  Alternate Address
 VariousNambucca  Alternate Address
 VariousKempsey  Alternate Address
 VariousTenterfield  Alternate Address
 VariousClarence Valley  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Office of Environment and HeritageState Government10 Feb 99

Statement of significance:

This site, comprising several protected areas, is situated predominantly along the Great Escarpment on Australia's east coast. The outstanding geological features displayed around shield volcanic craters and the high number of rare and threatened rainforest species are of international significance for science and conservation. (UNESCO)

An outstanding example representing major stages of the earth's evolutionary history; an outstanding example representing significant ongoing geological processes and biological evolution; and containing important and significant habitats for the in-situ conservation of biodiversity.
Date significance updated: 20 Jun 06
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Physical description: In 1986, a number of rainforest reserves located on the Great Escarpment of eastern New South Wales, known as the Australian East Coast Sub-tropical and Temperate Rainforest Parks were inscribed on the World Heritage list for their outstanding natural universal values:

- as an outstanding example representing major stages of the earth's evolutionary history;

- as an outstanding example representing significant ongoing geological processes and biological evolution; and

- containing important and significant habitats for the in situ conservation of biological diversity.

Large extensions, including reserves in south-east Queensland, were listed in 1994 under the new title of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (Australia).

Rainforest occurs in NSW and south east Queensland as discontinuous patches like a chain of islands in a sea of fire-prone eucalypt forest and agricultural lands. These patches range in size from tiny gully stands to lush forests covering large valleys and ranges. The Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves include the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world, large areas of warm temperate rainforest and nearly all of the Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforest.

Rainforest once covered most of the ancient southern supercontinent Gondwana and remains the most ancient type of vegetation in Australia. The Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves provide an interesting living link with the evolution of Australia and hence a record of the past. Few places on earth contain so many plants and animals whose ancestors can be traced through the fossil record and today remain relatively unchanged. There is a concentration of primitive plant families that are direct links with the birth and spread of flowering plants over 100 million years ago, as well as some of the oldest elements of the world's ferns and conifers.

A range of geological and environmental influences in the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves determine where forest communities grow. As these change in the future, so will the forest mosaic-it is an ongoing process that has been occurring for millions of years.

High waterfalls crashing into steep gorges are spectacular examples of an important ongoing natural process-erosion. Erosion by coastal rivers created the Great Escarpment and the steep-sided caldera of the Tweed Valley surrounding Mount Warning. Once, this towering mountain was the buried plug of an ancient vast volcano. Today, rainforest grows on the fertile, well watered soils that remain.

The evolution of new species is encouraged by the natural separation and isolation of rainforest stands. Many plants and animals found in the property are locally restricted to a few sites or occur in widely separated populations.

Although rainforests cover only about 0.3 % of Australia, they contain about half of all Australian plant families and about a third of Australia's mammal and bird species. The Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves have an extremely high conservation value and provide habitat for more than 200 rare or threatened plant and animal species. The distributional limits of several species and many centres of species diversity occur in the property. The Border Group is a particularly rich area with the highest concentration of frog, snake, bird and marsupial species in Australia.

The current listing of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves includes approximately 50 separate reserves located between Newcastle and Brisbane. It is a serial listing, with only areas of reserved Crown land being listed. These reserves are managed principally by four different agencies: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Qld Parks and Wildlife Service, State Forests of NSW and Department of Natural Resources (Qld).

A strategic overview for management of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves has been prepared to assist the agencies manage the area in a coordinated, consistent and cooperative manner and ensure the integrity of its values is protected.

Exploring the World Heritage Rainforests in the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves is easy, with many of the reserves readily accessible from major towns by sealed or graded gravel roads. A range of visitor facilities are provided at most reserves. Parts of some reserves in NSW have been declared as wilderness and access roads, facilities, lookouts and marked walking tracks are provided only on their boundaries.

Total area of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves: 366 507 ha (59 223 ha in Qld, 307 284 ha in NSW).

Types of rainforest found in the property: cool temperate rainforest; warm temperate rainforest; subtropical rainforest; and dry rainforest. (Commonwealth of Australia , Department of Environment and Heritage website)

National Parks and Nature Reserves affected within NSW include:

Mount Royal National Park
Barrington Tops National Park
Mount Seaview Nature Reserve
Werrikimbe National Park
Willi Willi National Park
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
The Castles Nature Reserve
Cunnawarra National Park
New England National Park
Dorrigo National Park
Mount Hyland National Park
Gibraltar Range National Park
Washpool National Park
Iluka Nature Reserve
Mallanganee National Park
Richmond Range National Park
Toonumbar National Park
Captains Creek Nature Reserve
Nightcap National Park
Tooloom National Park
Border Ranges National Park
Mount Warning National Park
Mount Nothofagus National Park
Amaroo Nature Reserve
Mount Clunie National Park
Limpinwood Nature Reserve
Koreelah National Park
Gambubal State Forest
Mount Chinghee National Park
Mount Barney National Park
Lamington National Park
Current use: Rainforest Area
Former use: Rainforest Area

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Forestry-Activities associated with identifying and managing land covered in trees for commercial purposes. (none)-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0100202 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
National Heritage ListCentral Eastern Rainforests Reserves 21 May 07 S99 
World Heritage List     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Electronic  Map - World Heritage Places - Gondwana Rainforests of Australia View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007North East Rainforest World Heritage Area View detail
WrittenDepartment of Environment and Energy World Heritage Places - Gondwana Rainforests of Australia View detail
ElectronicOffice of Environment and Heritage Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area View detail
ElectronicUNESCO Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (Australia) View detail

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5014148
File number: H99/00224/5

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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