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The Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
are the largest mountain range in South Australia, which starts about 200 km (125 mi) north of Adelaide.[2] The discontinuous ranges stretch for over 430 km (265 mi) from Port Pirie
Port Pirie
to Lake Callabonna.[2] Its most characteristic landmark is Wilpena
Wilpena
Pound, a large, sickle-shaped, natural amphitheatre that covers 80 km2 (31 sq mi),[2] and contains the range's highest peak, St Mary Peak (1,171 m (3,842 ft),[1]) which adjoins the Ikara- Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
National Park. The northern ranges are protected by the Arkaroola Protection Area
Arkaroola Protection Area
and the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. The southern ranges are notable for the Pichi Richi scenic railway and Mount Remarkable
Mount Remarkable
National Park. The Adnyamathanha people are the indigenous inhabitants of the range.[3] Several small areas in the Ranges have protected area status. These include the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
near Wilpena
Wilpena
Pound, the Mount Remarkable National Park
Mount Remarkable National Park
in the south near Melrose, the Arkaroola Protection Area
Arkaroola Protection Area
in the north, The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park west of Quorn, and the Mount Brown Conservation Park south of Quorn. The Heysen Trail
Heysen Trail
and Mawson Trail
Mawson Trail
run for several hundred kilometres along the ranges, providing scenic long distance routes for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.

Contents

1 Geology 2 Climate 3 Flora
Flora
and fauna 4 History 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Geology[edit]

Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
from space

The Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
are composed largely of folded and faulted sediments of the Adelaide
Adelaide
Geosyncline. This very thick sequence was deposited in a large basin during the Neoproterozoic on the passive margin of the ancient continent of Rodinia. During the Cambrian
Cambrian
(about 540 million years ago) the area underwent the Delamerian orogeny, when the geosynclinal sequence was folded and faulted into a large mountain range. The area has undergone subsequent erosion resulting in the relatively low ranges today.[4] Most of the high ground and ridgetops are sequences of quartzites that outcrop along strike. The high walls of Wilpena Pound
Wilpena Pound
are formed by the outcropping beds of the eponymous Pound Quartzite
Quartzite
in a synclinal structure. Synclines form other high parts of the Flinders, including the plateau of the Gammon Ranges
Gammon Ranges
and the Heysen Range. Cuesta
Cuesta
forms are also very common. The Ranges are renowned for the Ediacara Hills, South-west of Leigh Creek, where in 1946 some of the oldest fossil evidence of animal life was discovered. Similar fossils have subsequently been found in the ranges, although their locations are kept secret to protect the sites. In 2004 a new geological period, the Ediacaran
Ediacaran
Period, was created to mark the appearance of Ediacara biota. Climate[edit] The region has a semi-arid climate with hot dry summers and cool winters. Summer temperatures usually exceed 38 °C (100 °F), while winters have highs around 13–16 °C (55–61 °F), depending on the elevation. Although rainfall is erratic, most of the precipitation falls in winter.[5] There are also some monsoonal showers and storms that move in from the north during the summer. The area gets around 250 mm (9.8 in) of rain annually, with the highest at Wilpena
Wilpena
Pound, at 350 mm (14 in). Frost
Frost
is common on winter mornings and temperatures have dropped as low as −8 °C (18 °F). Snow
Snow
has even been recorded in the Wilpena Pound
Wilpena Pound
and at Blinman.[6] The last significant snowfall was in 1995.[7] Flora
Flora
and fauna[edit]

Arid land in the Flinders Ranges

The flora of the Ranges are largely species adapted to a semi-arid environment, such as sugar gum, cypress-pine, mallee and black oak. Moister areas near Wilpena Pound
Wilpena Pound
support grevilleas, Guinea flowers, Liliaceae
Liliaceae
and ferns. Reeds and sedges grow near permanent water sources such as springs and waterholes. Since the eradication of dingos and the establishment of permanent waterholes for stock, the number of red kangaroos, western grey kangaroos and wallaroos in the Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
has increased. The yellow-footed rock-wallaby, which neared extinction after the arrival of Europeans due to hunting and predation by foxes, has now stabilised. Other endemic marsupials include dunnarts and planigales. Insectivorous bats make up significant proportion of the mammals. There are a large number of bird species including parrots, galahs, emus, the wedge-tailed eagle and small numbers of water birds. Reptiles include goannas, snakes, dragon lizards, skinks and geckos. The streambank froglet is an endemic amphibian. The Ranges are part of the Tirari-Sturt stony desert
Tirari-Sturt stony desert
ecoregion.[8] History[edit]

The Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
at the southern end of Wilpena
Wilpena
Pound

The first humans to inhabit the Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
were the Adnyamathanha people (meaning "hill people" or "rock people") whose descendants still reside in the area[3], and the Ndajurri people who no longer exist.[9] Cave paintings, rock engravings and other artefacts indicate that the Adnyamathana and Ndajurri lived in the Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
for tens of thousands of years. Occupation of the Warratyi
Warratyi
rock shelter dates back approximately 49,000 years.[10][11] The first European explorers were an exploration party from Matthew Flinders' seagoing visit to upper Spencer Gulf
Spencer Gulf
aboard HMS Investigator. They climbed Mount Brown in March 1802. In the winter of 1839 Edward John Eyre, with five men, two drays and ten horses, further explored the region, setting out from Adelaide
Adelaide
on 1 May. The party set up a depot near Mount Arden, and then explored the surrounding region and upper Spencer Gulf, before heading east to the Murray River
Murray River
and returning to Adelaide.[12]

The Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
as seen from the Stuart Highway

There are records of squatters in the Quorn district as early as 1845, and the first pastoral leases were granted in 1851. William Pinkerton is credited as being the first European to find a route through the Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
via Pichi Richi Pass. In 1853 he drove 7,000 sheep along the eastern plains of the range to where Quorn would be built 25 years later (Pinkerton Creek runs through the Quorn township). In 1851 Wilpena, Arkaba and Aroona were established as sheep stations, and within a few years other runs were marked out through the hills and along the adjoining eastern and western slopes. In 1852 Kanyaka Station
Kanyaka Station
was established by Hugh Proby. During the late 1870s the push to open agricultural land for wheat north of the Goyder's Line
Goyder's Line
had met with unusual success, with good rainfall and crops in the Flinders Ranges. This, along with the copper mining lobby (copper was mined in the Hawker- Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
area in the late 1850s and transported overland by bullock dray), induced the government to build a narrow gauge railway line north of Port Augusta through Pichi Richi Pass, Quorn, Hawker and along the west of the ranges to Marree, to service the agricultural and pastoral industries.

Abandoned Kanyaka homestead between Quorn and Hawker.

However, rainfall returned to a normal pattern for the region, causing many agricultural farms to collapse. Remnants of abdandoned homes can still be seen dotted around the arid landscape. Wilpena
Wilpena
station, due to its unusual geography, along with areas around Quorn and Carrieton, are now the only places north of Goyder's Line
Goyder's Line
to sustain any crops[citation needed] - Wilpena
Wilpena
has now been left to the wild and is only a tourist location. Today kukri, unpopular with most Australian farmers as it yields 10-15% less grain than other varieties of wheat, is being grown for export to India.[13] Mining exploration continued in the region, but coal mining at Leigh Creek and barytes at Oraparinna were the only long-term successes. Pastoral industries flourished, and the rail line became of major importance in opening up and servicing sheep and cattle stations along the route to Alice Springs. Hawker townsite was surveyed at a bend in the railway line where the train line left the main road to Blinman, and named in 1880 after South Australian politician and pastoralist, George Charles Hawker. Quorn was surveyed by Godfrey Walsh and proclaimed a town on 16 May 1878. The township covered an area of 1.72 km2 (0.66 sq mi) and was laid out in squares in a manner similar to the state's capital city, Adelaide. Governor Jervois reputedly bestowed the name 'Quorn' because his private secretary at the time had come from the Parish of Quorndon. See also[edit]

South Australia
South Australia
portal

Flinders (other) Edeowie glass Ediacara (other) Mawson Plateau Mount Chambers Gorge Protected areas of South Australia Mount Remarkable Panaramitee Style

References[edit]

^ a b Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. p. 682. ISBN 9781593394929. Retrieved 14 August 2015.  ^ a b c d Schultz, Patricia (2011). 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Workman Publishing. p. 658. ISBN 9780761168713.  ^ a b Russell, Suzy. "LibGuides: Aboriginal people of South Australia: Adnyamathanha
Adnyamathanha
people". guides.slsa.sa.gov.au. Retrieved 2017-06-27.  ^ Australia: The Land Where Time Began - A biography of the Australian continent ^ http://www.flindersranges.com/region/weather.htm ^ http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/96122/20090317-1643/www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthree/c20thc/temp4.html ^ http://history.flindersranges.com.au/living-with-the-land/climate ^ World Wildlife Fund (2001). "Tirari-Sturt stony desert". WildWorld Ecoregion
Ecoregion
Profile. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 2010-03-08.  ^ Hema Maps (1997). Discover Australia's National Parks. Milsons Point, New South Wales: Random House Australia. pp. 320—321. ISBN 1-875992-47-2.  ^ "Oldest known evidence of Aboriginal settlement in arid Australia found in Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
rock shelter". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2016-11-03. Retrieved 2016-11-05.  ^ Annalee Newitz (2016-03-11). "First discovery of 50,000-year-old human settlements in Australian interior". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2016-11-05.  ^ Domin, Eduard R.; Mincham H; Swinbourne R; Cook J (1986). The Flinders Ranges, A Portrait. St Peters, South Australia: Little Hills Press. pp. 12–19. ISBN 0-949773-37-9.  ^ Prue Adams. "Flour Power". Landline. 2009-04-20. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Flinders Ranges.

Official government webpage for the Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges
and Outback tourism region

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