Biodiversity publications archive

Refugia for biological diversity in arid and semi-arid Australia

Biodiversity Series, Paper No. 4
S.R. Morton, J. Short and R.D. Barker, with an Appendix by G.F. Griffin and G. Pearce
Biodiversity Unit
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1995

13. Refugia in Queensland (continued)

13.5. Reference number QLD5

Refuge area: Lawn Hill Gorge

Biogeographic region: Gulf Fall and Uplands

Type of refuge: Gorge

Lat./Long. 18°42’S / 138°29’E

Quality of refuge: Highly significant (5)

Area (km²): <100

Chief refuge value

A moist gorge with deep permanent water and supporting dense fringing habitats with relict species.

General description

The Gorge has vertical cliffs, the base of which carries dense vegetation dominated by Pandanus aquaticus, Livistona sp., Nauclea orientalis, and Melaleuca sp. There are deep pools with waterlilies in the lower Gorge, and emergent and fringing wetlands dominated by sedges, rushes, grasses and ferns. The permanent moisture associated with the Gorge allows survival of ferns, mosses, algae, palms and a diverse riverine flora. The permanent deep water and fringing habitats in a semi-arid environment provide refugia for a diverse and locally distinct biota, probably a rainforest remnant1.

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics

Although not specified, many plants appear endemic1.

Relict species

Many species – particularly plants – are probably relicts with a rainforest origin1.

Other significant species

Notable fauna includes the rock ringtail possum Pseudocheirus dahli, and a range of freshwater fish, crustaceans and molluscs. Freshwater crocodiles Crocodylus johnstoni occur in the Creek1.

Key threats

Disturbance by pigs.

Land tenure

Lawn Hill National Park.

Key references

1. Blackman et al. (1993)