New outback reserve to protect diverse western wilderness

Environment Minister, Matt Kean has today announced the second largest land acquisition for national parks in the last 10 years with the purchase of the neighbouring Langidoon and Metford stations, 65 kilometres east of Broken Hill.

Langidoon and Metford Stations

The plan for the two properties, totaling 60,468 hectares, is to create a new outback reserve conserving significant biodiversity and Aboriginal heritage in the region.

"Land to the west of the Great Dividing Range supports a great diversity of wildlife, unique natural heritage and culturally important places, worthy of protection," Mr Kean said.

"This new park will be an important refuge for wildlife including at least 14 threatened animal species including habitat for the Australian bustard, white-fronted chat and the pink cockatoo."

Once this addition is formally reserved, the national parks system will have increased by more 350,000 hectares since August 2019, well on the way to meet the target of an additional 400,000 hectares by the end of 2022.

The purchase follows on from the recent creation of another outback reserve – Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park which was the largest purchase of private land for the national parks estate.

In time, it is expected visitors will be able to explore sandplains and stony desert, gibber chenopod shrublands, floodplain woodland along watercourses and a lake system that provides habitat for a range of migratory bird species.

The properties contain important Aboriginal heritage including artefacts such as grinding plates and stones.

  • Langidoon and Metford Stations lie in the far west of NSW, 65 km east of Broken Hill, within the Broken Hill Complex Bioregion. It lies along the Barrier Highway.
  • The properties contain a diversity of broad ecosystems supporting Acacia shrublands on sandplains and on stony desert, gibber chenopod shrublands and floodplain woodland associated with ephemeral watercourses.
  • Size: 60,468 hectares (Landgidoon at 35,554 ha and Metford at 24,914.19 ha).
  • Bioregional significance: Langidoon and Metford make a significant contribution to a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system by:
    • Increasing the level of protection for Broken Hill Complex Bioregion from 3.45% to 4.42%.
    • Protecting an area of two subregions. The Barrier Ranges subregion, characterised by steep, low rocky ranges is not sampled in the national park estate; and the Barrier Range Outwash subregion has only 0.4% reserved in the national park estate. This subregion is characterised by stream channels and floodplains, low angle alluvial fans and floodouts, extending to extensive sandplains and dunefields with lakes and claypans.
    • Protecting 7 landscape types. Three (Barrier Salt Lakes and Playas; Barrier Tablelands and Barrier Fresh Lakes and Swamps) are not protected in any other national park and one (Barrier Downs) is effectively unprotected at 0.02 per cent reserved.
  • Ecosystems: The land contains a diversity of ecosystems – 33 Plant Community Types (PCTs) are mapped, of which 25 are effectively unreserved at the bioregional level.
    • Over 30% of the land comprises Acacia loderi shrublands – an endangered TEC (Threatened ecological community). In New South Wales, the community is mainly confined to south western NSW with the major stands occurring between Broken Hill, Ivanhoe and Wilcannia, while only isolated stands occur beyond these areas.
  • Threatened species: provides potential habitat for at least 14 threatened fauna species, mainly birds.
    • Threatened species are likely to include the Australian Bustard, white-fronted chat, pink cockatoo, blue-billed duck and freckled duck
  • Wetlands: includes Eckerboon Lake (160 ha) which during times of flooding provide habitat for migratory bird species.
  • Aboriginal heritage: artefacts associated with ephemeral Eckerboon Lake.
  • Contemporary history: Little Topar on the Metford property hosted the 'roo shooting scene' for 1971 movie Wake in Fright starring Jack Thompson, Chips Rafferty and John Meillon (among others).