proposed Helena Aurora National Park
Helena and Aurora Range, Bungalbin has been included in the McGowan government's initiative, Plan for Our Parks, announced in February 2019.
The boundary of the proposed Helena Aurora National Park, was finalised in early 2020. The proposed national park boundary surpasses the campaign's National Park Proposal (published in 2013 and revised in 2017), as it includes Mount Manning Range as well as Helena and Aurora Range, Bungalbin (see below for more details). Mount Manning Range is one of six significant Banded Ironstone Formation ranges (BIF ranges) in the Yilgarn, north of Southern Cross. Helena and Aurora Range, Bungalbin being the most significant BIF range in the Yilgarn (see page: Significance of Range).
The proposed Helena Aurora National Park has been formed by combining three existing areas of low-status conservation estate. The Mount Manning Range Conservation Park (reserve no. 48470), Helena and Aurora Range Conservation Park (reserve no. 48470) and the Mount Manning Range Nature Reserve (reserve no. 36208). Combined into a national park, as the proposed Helena Aurora National Park, two significant BIF ranges and the surrounding woodlands and sandplains would be protected from mining. An area of approximately 240,000ha.
Status of the remaining four significant BIF ranges in the Yilgarn
One of the other four significant BIF ranges in the Yilgarn, Die Hardy Range, has been included recently as one of five additional proposed national parks (added in June 2020 following consultation with interested parties and as insurance to meet the Plan for Our Parks quota of adding 5 million hectars to the conservation estate in Western Australia). This includes a very special area of Die Hardy Range, that was recommended to be vested as a Class A Nature Reserve in 2010 (see map below).
The remaining three significant BIF ranges in the Yilgarn, Koolyanobbig Range, Mt Jackson Range and Windarling Range, are all currently being mined for iron ore.
Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
To create a national park (post amendments in 2015 to the CALM Act 19841), an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) is developed with the Traditional Owners. The ILUA for a national park is a legal agreement between the State government of WA and the Traditional Owners. The agreement enables joint management (between the Traditional Owners and the DBCA2) and usually includes an Aboriginal Ranger program. Since June 2020, negotiations of an ILUA for the proposed Helena Aurora National Park has been initiated with the Traditional Owners.
(1 CALM Act 1984 is the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984; 2 DBCA is the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions)
MAP BELOW SHOWS THE EXISTING AND PROPOSED TENURE IN 2010 FOR THE BIF RANGES, WOODLANDS & SANDPLAINS IN THE YILGARN
Helena and Aurora Range Conservation Park, Mount Manning Conservation Park and Mount Manning Range Nature Reserve are included within the proposed Helena Aurora National Park in 2020. (NOTE: The boundaries of these three existing conservation estates provide AN INDICATION ONLY of the final boundary for the proposed Helena Aurora National Park - the final boundary will be modified to some extent and hopefully announced by the WA government in 2020 or 2021.)
How does the proposed Helena Aurora National Park surpass the Campaign's 2017 National Park Proposal?
Back in 2013, the Helena Aurora Range campaign put forward its proposal for a Class A National Park for Helena and Aurora Range (Bungalbin). With the mining of J4 (the northern tip of the low hills heading out to the north west from the main range) this proposal was revised in 2017 (see map shown below). The campaign proposal was quite conservative, just including the Range, compared to the WA government's plan in 2020.
Our proposed boundary also differed slightly, in that it included what we consider to be the full length of the low hills (24 km long) that extend to the north west from the main range (our proposal included J4 iron ore deposit in 2013 and excluded J4 mine site in 2017). The extra area we included in 2017 is an additional eight km of the low hills, and is within Unallocated Crown Land (UCL) and therfore not included in the existing Helena and Aurora Range Conservation Park (vested in 2005), nor the proposed Helena Aurora National Park (proposed 2019-2020). Looks like we will have to live with that.
The campaign's National Park Proposal (2017) summarises the history of efforts to conserve the Range since the 1980s, its conservation and landform values as well as its Aboriginal Heritage values (as far as was known in 2017). Plus there are plenty of great photos. Can download a copy of the National Park Proposal (2017, 2nd edition).
Map of Campaign's national park proposal in 2017 - prior to the WA government's Plan for Our Parks initiative
The Campaign's proposal for Helena and Aurora Range, Bungalbin to be gazetted as a Class A National Park (2013; 2017 2nd Edition) was prepared by The Wilderness Society (TWS), Helena and Aurora Range Advocates (HARA) and the Wildflower Society of Western Australia (WSWA).