Shire of Dandaragan

Area ~200 km north of Perth and covers ~6,716 square kilometres.
Towns Badgingarra, Cervantes, Dandaragan, Jurien Bay and Regans Ford
Average Temperature Coastal: maximum of 33.2°C in February and minimum of 9.3°C in July.
Annual Rainfall Average rainfall of 533.9 mm.
ABS Profile Dandaragan ABS profile

Click features on the map for more information. View full page map

The total population of the Shire of Dandaragan is 3,325, with Jurien Bay being the most populated town with an approximate population of 1,500 (ABS, 2014).

The Shire’s population has been gradually increasing with a  total growth percentage of 1% since 2011.

The Shire of Dandaragan has a relatively diverse population with approximately 25% of residents being born overseas, 75% being born in Australia and approximately 2.5% being of indigenous heritage.

Estimates of the resident populations as at 30 June are released annually for Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Australia by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The estimates are generally revised 12 months later and final estimates are available after the following census. Visit the ABS website for further details.

The agriculture industry largely contributes to the economy of the Shire of Dandaragan, accounting for approximately 48.2% of businesses and approximately 384, 600 hectares. Manufacturing and transport and logistics account for 6.2% and 4.1% of local businesses, respectively (RPS, 2014).

In the Shire of Dandaragan approximately 1,509 residents are employed in the work force.  Employment by sector (Service related industry, Retail related industry, Agriculture, fishing and forestry, Mining, Manufacturing, Construction, Other) is depicted in the chart below.

The main land uses as shown in the Local Planning Scheme for the Shire of Dandaragan includes, regional reserves, rural residential, park and recreation, urban and agriculture.

Priority conservation reserves within the Shire of Dandaragan includes Carnaby’s Breeding Site-Wandoo Woodland, Lesueur National Park and surrounds, Nambung National Park, Southern Beekeepers Reserve, Bashford Nature Reserve, Coomallo Nature Reserve, Boothendarra Nature Reserve and surroundings, Watheroo National Park, Wongonderrah Nature Reserve, Minyulo Nature Reserve, Eneminga Nature Reserve, Wanagarren Nature Reserve, Namming Nature Reserve, Twyata Nature Reserve and Badgingarra National Park.

Nature Reserves

  • Watheroo National Park

    The Watheroo National Park covers an area of 44,481 hectares and is located in the Shires of Coorow, Moora and Dandaragan. The national park is characterised by sand plains mostly dominated by heath and woodlands of Eucalypts.

  • Southern Beekeepers Nature Reserves

    Southern Beekeepers Nature Reserve is located north of Cervantes (bordering Nambung National Park) to Hill River, and inland to the Cervantes-Jurien road, and is accessible via 4WD track. The reserve covers an area of around 10 800 ha, and forms part of DEC’s Moora District, the management goals of which include: Conservation; Recreation and tourism (compatible with other goals); Community relations (informed, engaged community); Commercial and other uses (in a manner that minimises impact on other values) and; Research and monitoring (to increase understanding). Specifically, Southern Beekeepers Reserve was gazetted in 1979 as a ‘C’ class reserve for the purposed of apiculture and the conservation of flora. See the Nambung National Park Management Plan 1998-2008.


  • Nambung National Park

    The Nambung National Park covers an approximate area of 193 square kilometres and is home to the Pinnacles Desert.

  • Lesueur National Park

    The Lesueur National Park covers an approximate area of 27,235 hectares and lies in the Geraldton Sand plains IBRA region. The national park is home to approximately 900 native plant species, with four rare or threatened species being recorded in the park including the Mount Lesueur Grevillea, Forrest’s Wattle, Lesueur Hakea and the Laterite Mallee.

  • Drovers Cave National Park

    Drovers Cave National Park is an A-Class reserve that covers an area of 2 680 hectares approximately 5 km north east of the town of Jurien Bay, and is home to a number of limestone caves including Drovers, Hastings, Moorba, Old River and Mystery caves. Many of these caves are locked to prevent access (for health and safety reasons and to protect the caves from graffiti and vandalism).

    Drovers Cave is located near the Canning Stock Route and was visited by drovers, hence its name. Drovers Cave was surveyed and gazetted as part of the National Park in 1973.


  • Conservation reserves in the NAR

    To view all the reserves in the Northern Agricultural Region, visit the Land use theme page or view the nature reserve map.

  • Badgingarra National Park

    Badgingarra National Park covers an approximate area of 13,108 hectares and lies in the Shire of Dandaragan. The national park is characterised by emergent breakaway country overlying sandplains. The national park is mostly dominated by low scrub heath.

The coastline of the Shire of Dandaragan is dominated by the Lancelin formation formed from volcanic and sedimentary rock that overlies the Perth Basin. The Lancelin formation consists of glauconite chalk, marl and calcareous mudstone. The middle portion of the LGA is dominated by the Osbourne formation formed from volcanic and sedimentary rock. The Osbourne formation is interbedded with sandstone, siltstone, shale and claystone. The eastern portion is dominated by the Leederville formation interbedded with sandstone, siltstone, minor conglomerate overlying thin beds of coal seams. The Coolyena group comprises of chalk interspersed with greensand, glauconitic, siltstone, sandstone and marl. The group includes the Poison Hill Greensand, Gingin Chalk, Molecap Greensand and Molecap formations dominates the far eastern portion of the Shire.

The coast line of the Shire comprises of siliceous coloured sands forming part of a complex dune system and some gravelly soils overlying limestone outcrops. Deep pale siliceous sands and coloured siliceous over gravelly soils overlying undulating rolling hills with emergent rocky outcrops and low lying floodplains/drainage depressions in the eastern portion of the Shire.

Please go to the below link for more information on soil and geology in the region

Priority Fauna Species

IBRA Regions

  • Swan Coastal Plain subregion (Swan Coastal Plain 2)

    The Swan Coastal Plain is located in the southern LGAs. This subregion is dominated by Banksia and Tuart on sandy soils. Dominating the outwash plains of the region are Casuarina obesa, whilst paperbark typically dominates the swampy areas. In the east the Jarrah woodlands are dominant (Mitchell et. al., 2002).

  • Dandaragan Plateau subregion (Swan Coastal Plain 1)

    The Dandaragan plateau is located in the southern LGAs of the NAR. This subregion is characterised by low woodlands of Banksia, Jarrah-Marri woodlands and scrub heath on laterite pavement and on gravelly sandplain (Desmond, 2001).

Threatened Ecological Communities

  • Lesueur-Coomallo Floristic Community D1

    Description from Lesueur-Coomaloo Floristic Community D1 Interim recovery plan no. 109 (pg 2):

    This community occurs in the Geraldton Sandplains IBRA region and comprises a species-rich low heath, on moderately to well-drained lateritic gravels on lower slopes and low rises, dominated by Allocasuarina microstachya with A. ramosissima, A. humilis, Baeckea grandiflora, Borya nitida, Calytrix flavescens, Calothamnus sanguineous, Conostylis androstemma, Cryptandra pungens, Dryandra armata, Gastrolobium polystachyum, Hakea auriculata, H. incrassata, H. aff. erinacea, Hibbertia hypericoides, Hypocalymma xanthopetalum, Melaleuca trichophylla, Petrophile chrysantha, Schoenus subflavus and Xanthorrhoea drummondii.

    Current Status: WA listed as Critically Endangered.

  • Lesueur-Coomallo Floristic Community A1.2

    The Lesueur-Coomallo Floristic Community A1.2 is an Ecological Community occurring within the Geraldton Sandplains IBRA Bioregion that has been identified as Endangered at State level, being endorsed in 2001. The Floristic Community has only been identified on one 31 hectare area within Lesueur National Park and is currently at threat from altered fire regimes, dieback (Phytophthora sp.), plant and animal pests, and mining.

    The Lesueur-Coomallo Floristic Community A1.2 is described in Interim Recovery Plan No. 106 (pg 3) as being: Species-rich heath with emergent Hakea obliqua on sand with faithful species of Hakea obliqua and Beaufortia aff. elegans and constant species of Dasypogon bromeliifolius and Stirlingia latifolia over well-drained grey sand over pale yellow sand on lateritic uplands. Associated species include Allocasuarina humilis, Calothamnus sanguineous, Hibbertia hypericoides, Hypocalymma xanthopetalum and Schoenus subflavus.


  • Banksia Woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain: a nationally protected ecological community

    The Banksia Woodlands ecological community only occurs on or adjacent to the Swan Coastal Plain of Western Australia, which stretches to the north and south of Perth. The broader region—Southwest Australia—is recognised as one of only two global biodiversity hotspots in Australia.

    The ecological community provides habitat for many native plants and animals that rely on Banksia Woodlands for their homes and food. Remaining patches of the ecological community provide important wildlife corridors and refuges in a mostly fragmented landscape.

    The ecological community was listed as endangered under Australia’s national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), on 16 September.

    For more information about this ecological community visit the Department of Environment website.

  • *Claypans with mid dense shrublands of Melaleuca lateritia over herbs

    Classified as Claypans of the Swan Coastal Plain under EPBC Act.

    Category (WA) – Priority 1

    For more information see the Clay pans of the Swan Coastal Plain – Interim Recovery Plan No. 354 (DPaW2015).

Priority Ecological Communities

  • Lesueur-Coomallo Floristic Community M2 (Melaleuca preissiana woodland)

    Woodland dominated by Melaleuca preissiana along sandy drainage lines, with faithful species of Anigozanthos pulcherrimus and constant species of Chamaescilla corymbosa, Petrophile brevifolia and Xanthorrhoea reflexa.

    Category (WA) – Priority 1

    For more information visit the DPaW website.

  • Lesueur-Coomallo Floristic Community DFGH

    Mixed species-rich heath on lateritic gravel with Hakea erinacea, Melaleuca platycalyx and Petrophile seminuda: a fine scale mixture of four floristically-defined communities occurring on lateritic slopes.

    Category (WA) – Priority 1

    For more information visit the DPaW website.

  • *Claypans with mid dense shrublands of Melaleuca lateritia over herbs

    Classified as Claypans of the Swan Coastal Plain under EPBC Act.

    Category (WA) – Priority 1

    For more information see the Clay pans of the Swan Coastal Plain – Interim Recovery Plan No. 354 (DPaW2015).

Coastal Assets

  • Primary and Secondary Coastal Dunes

    Primary dunes (from low water mark) and secondary dunes. Valued for recreational, aesthetic and cultural reasons, along with the services provided for storm protection  and habitat.

Marine Assets

  • Seagrass Meadows

    Seagrasses are flowering plants that complete their life cycle submerged in seawater. Western Australia has the world’s highest diversity of seagrasses, with 27 species occurring in shallow waters off the coast. Seagrasses form a vital component of marine ecosystems through their services as primary biomass producers, sources of habitat (including breeding and nursery areas) and dissolved oxygen, sediment traps, and nutrient cycling. Seagrass distribution is determined by a combination of shelter, sediment, turbidity, nutrient, temperature, current and tidal influences.

    Extensive seagrass meadows occur in protected near-shore areas of the NAR, where clear water, low nutrients and sandy sea floors prevail, and are dominated by the long strap-like Ribbonweed or Strapweed (Posidonia spp) and the thin-stemmed Wireweed (Amphibolis spp).

    Seagrass habitats are fragile and susceptible to damage and can take many years to recover from disturbance, such as physical damage/removal and shading due to algal blooms (as a result of increased nutrients), and sedimentation (due to dredging activities and erosion in catchment areas).

    More information on seagrasses in Western Australia can be found in the following publications: Flowers of the Ocean: WA’s Expansive Seagrass MeadowsThe Wonders of Weed Information Sheet; Fisheries Fact Sheet: Seagrasses; Establishing Reference and Monitoring Sites to Assess a Key Indicator of Ecosystem Health (Seagrass Health) on the central west Coast of Western Australia (see references).


  • Jurien Bay Marine Park

    Jurien Bay Marine Park was declared in 2003 and encompasses the marine waters between Wedge and Green Head. Extending for around 5.5 km offshore, the Park contains an extensive limestone reef system, forming shallow lagoons and seagrass meadows, and also incorporates many island nature reserves that provide habitat for rare and endangered animals, including dibblers (an endangered marsupial) and various seabirds.

    The seagrass meadows that occur within the Park are important nursery habitat for many marine animals, including the western rock lobster. The Park also contains the sole major breeding area on the western coast for the rare Australian sea lion, supporting a population of approximately 800. The unique and biological diversity of the Park is due to a number of species that are at the limit of their geographical distribution – leading to a mix of temperate and tropical species.

    The Marine Park is popular for recreational activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming, windsurfing and surfing. Fishing is allowed in the Marine Park, with the exception of defined sanctuary and scientific reference zones (bag limits, minimum sizes and licences apply). Spearfishing, crabbing, rock lobster fishing and netting are restricted in some zones. For more information see: The Department of Fisheries WA website and the Jurien Bay Marine Park brochure.


Groundwater Areas

  • Jurien Groundwater Area

    The Jurien Groundwater Area spans over 5,000 km2 of land and has a total groundwater availability of around 84 million m3/year. Groundwater usage is low, with 21 per cent of resources allocated. There are also significant amounts of groundwater available in the Parmelia/Leederville formations. The superficial formation contains important resources near the coast, although the quality and quantity of groundwater is variable (DoW, 2010).

    For information on the allocation plan click here.


  • Nambung River

    River Length (km)  Key Characteristics
    Nambung 22 The Nambung River meanders between the towns of Cervantes and Badgingarra. The river ceases within the Nambung National Park in Karst terrain approximately 9 km south east of Cervantes.
  • Hill River

    Drainage Basin Length (km) Catchment Area (km2) Average Stream Salinity (mg/L) Key Characteristics
    Moore-Hill 124 3,721 1000-3000 Originates east of Badgingarra and enters the ocean halfway between Cervantes and Jurien. The estuary is blocked by a sandbar for most of the year and the rivers major tributaries are the Munbinea, Coomallo, Boothendarra and Winjardie Creeks. The lower reaches are also groundwater fed.


  • Saline lakes of Coolimba – Jurien

  • Lake Thetis

    Lake Thetis is one of few lakes where both submerged benthic microbial mats and developing microbial structures occur. The shallow pools on the south western shore provide the perfect environment for the growth of micro-organisms, particularly cyanobacteria, which are the building blocks for stromatolites, the regions only example of ‘living fossils’. Stromatolites – layered rocks – are the oldest form of life on earth dating 3.5 billion years, although the Lake Thetis structures are relatively new, being about 2,000 years old. Stromatolites grow in Lake Thetis because of the extreme salinity and limited circulationof the water and the occurrence of calcium carbonate. Lake Thetis is a very important site in the region and a significant example of a specialised form of aquatic ecological community.

    A symposium on Western Australia’s south-west microbialites during October 2012 developed a number of methods of addressing the major issues with conservation management of WA’s microbialites and microbial assemblages including increased sharing of knowledge and community ownership.


Cervantes Ratepayers & Progress Association

Jurien Bay Herbarium Group

Contact: Jeannie Harris (President) June Ivey (Secretary)
Work PO Box 178 Jurien Bay WA 6516 Cell Phone: 0419 396 513

Jurien Bay Progress Association Inc

Work P.O. Box 20 Jurien Bay WA 6516

Kwelena Mambakort Wedge Island Aboriginal Association

Work Wedge Island WA 6044

Moore Catchment Council

Work P.O. Box 337 Moora WA 6510 AustraliaWork 1 Padbury Street Moora WA 6510 Australia Phone: 08 9653 1355 Website:

Northern Agricultural Catchments Council

Work Geraldton Office 201 Lester Avenue PO Box 7168 Geraldton WA 6530 Work Perenjori Office Corner of Fowler Street and Timmings Street PO Box 95 Perenjori WA 6620 Work Jurien Bay Office 69 Bashford Street PO Box 872 Jurien Bay WA 6516 Phone: (08) 9938 0100 (Geraldton) Phone: (08) 9973 1444 (Perenjori) Phone: (08) 9652 0872 (Jurien Bay) Website: NACC Website

West Midlands Group

Phone: (08) 9651 4008 Website:
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