Mount Willoughby Indigenous Protected Area
|Indigenous Protected Area
|South Australia, Australia
|Stuart Highway, approximately 150 kms north of Coober Pedy.
|Cultural Heritage | Environmental Heritage | Land Management | Tourism
|The Mount Willoughby Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) was declared on 22 August 2002 at the Tjirilia Aboriginal Corporation meeting. This followed two years of consultation and planning by the Mount Willoughby Management Unit. The declaration was subsequently ratified by senior Traditional Owners. The IPA consists of 386,500 hectares of threatened bushland in two separate bioregions, the Great Victoria Desert and the Stony Plains. It also shares a boundary with the Talaringa Conservation Park (in South Australia). The Mount Willoughby property was purchased by the Indigenous Land Corporation on behalf of the Tjyrilia Aboriginal Corporation in recognition of its cultural significance to the local Aboriginal community and the potential for small business operations such as ecotourism.
|The IPA has been identified as having sites of both cultural and ecological values. The central focus of the IPA is therefore cultural and natural heritage management. Significant cultural heritage sites are being recorded while those of high cultural significance are being fenced off to ensure appropriate protection. The IPA also has important sources of bushtucker which include waterholes, creeks, rock pools and the hill country. Several historic buildings also exist.
The area supports a diverse range of habitats, flora and fauna. These include the cracking clay pans of the Moor Plain, swamps, dunes and the rare desert flower, the daisy Erigeron sessilifolius. 75 bird species, 14 native mammals, 47 reptiles and one frog species were also recorded during the survey of the area.
The land had been subject to a pastoral lease for a long period during which time both sheep and cattle had been grazed. The lease was purchased by the Indigenous Land Corporation in 1996. The land management program now sees the property divided into two zones which will be managed as a Resource Protected Area and a conservation, tourism and recreation area. Management works include monitoring of erosion, protection of fragile areas and management of feral animals and stock, monitoring of sensitive vegetation communities, weed eradication and recording of sites of cultural significance. Small business operations will be established in order to provide funds for environmental management and community employment.