Shire of Northampton

Area ~460 km north of Perth and cover ~ 13,738 square kilometres.
Towns Northampton, Kalbarri, Isseka, Horrocks, Port Gregory and Binnu.
Average Temperature Coastal: maximum of 34.2°C in February and minimum temperature of 9.7°C in July.
Annual Rainfall Coastal: average of 345 mm.
ABS Profile Northampton ABS profile

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

The total population of the Shire of Northampton according is 3,3379. Kalbarri is the largest town with a population of ~1,330.

The shire’s population has increased since 2011, with a total growth of 3%.

In the Shire of Northampton approximately 20% of residents were born overseas,  80% were born in Australia and ~5.7% of the population are 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 economy of the Shire of Northampton is broadly based around agriculture (sheep and wheat farming), tourism, mining and rock lobster fishing (MWDC, 2011).  Approximately 1,420 residents are employed in the work force. People are employed in service and retail related industries, as well as mining and agriculture.

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 Northampton are agriculture, reserves, residential, commercial and industrial.

Priority conservation reserves includes the Kalbarri National Park, Galena Nature Reserve, Burgess Well Nature Reserve, Chilimony Nature Reserve, Ogilvie Nature Reserve, the Tubbs Nature Reserve and Mallee Nature Reserve.

Nature Reserves

  • Kalbarri National Park

    The botanically significant Kalbarri National Park was gazetted in 1963 and encompasses an area of 183, 004 hectares in the Shire of Northampton. A significant geological feature in the national park is the gorge associated with the Murchison River, which provides habitat for populations of threatened flora. The national park is home to a unique diversity of plant and animals, with approximately 200 different fauna species (including 75 species of reptiles) being observed in the area, due in part to the area being a transition zone for south-west and arid zone species, along with the area being the translocation site for the locally extinct  chuditch (Dasyurus geoffroii), woylie (Bettongia penicillata) and tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii subsp. derbianus).

    Introduced animals (including goas, pigs, foxes, cats and rabbits), environmental weeds and inappropriate fire regimes pose a threat to the Park’s natural values, while mining, beekeeping and water extraction are among the competing land uses, and management of these activities is focused on minimising the impacts of these.

    Current management actions are prioritised around the management of cultural heritage, visitor use, the natural environment, resource use, community engagement and research and monitoring.

    The Park is located within the traditional lands of the Nanda and houses numerous Aboriginal heritage sites, along with a range of sites associated with European exploration and historic developments, and therefore cultural and heritage values are a priority of management.

    Kalbarri National Park is one of the highest profile tourist destinations in WA, receiving around 300, 000 visitors annually, which flock to see the wildflowers and natural rock formations characteristic of the area. Improved access and maintenance of existing recreation sites is necessary, along side minimising visitor impacts to the area.

    More information can be found in the Department of Parks and Wildlife Kalbarri National Park draft management plan 2014.

  • Kalbarri Blue Holes Fish Habitat Protection Area

    The Blue Holes form part of an inshore coastal limestone reef system west of Kalbarri, and includes permanently submerged  and intertidal sections. The Blue Holes area is a popular recreational area and plays host to an abundance of aquatic animals and fish. The area was declared a Fish Habitat Protection Area (FHPA) in 2007 due to its special ecological and community significance. Due to the fragile and important ecosystem special management requirements are in place to help ensure its long-term sustainability, including:

    • All fishing is prohibited;
    • The use of motorised vessels (including recreational boating and jet skis) are prohibited;
    • Special care should be taken to dispose of rubbish responsibly;
    • Aquatic recreation activities (including snorkelling and scuba diving) are encouraged, when pursued safely and responsibly;
    • Aquatic nature-based tourism is encouraged to help promote awareness of the environmental values of the area, however operations are subject to licencing requirements and guidelines for responsible operations must be adhered to.

    More information can be found in the Department of Fisheries Kalbarri Blue Holes FHPA, 2009.

  • Galena

    A historic mine site that was mined for galena (lead ore) in the early years of European settlement and now contains a protected area of remnant bush on the banks of the Murchison River and adjacent to farming land. This area now supports a range of key indicator plants that are not found in the surrounding area, these species are described in survey conducted by DAFWA in 2009.

  • Eurardy Reserve

    A 30 050 hectare area of remnant vegetation adjoining Kalbarri National Park, approximately 145 km north of Geraldton. Eurardy Reserve was bought by Bush Heritage Australia in 2005. The Reserve protects 21% of the Jam and York Gum woodlands in the Geraldton Sandplain bioregion along with 500 plant species, including five that are recognised nationally as endangered or vulnerable. The Reserve also provides a link between Kalbarri National Park and Toolonga Nature Reserve. Significant species and communities found on the Reserve include:

    Animals:

    • Red-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii naso) – Nationally and WA listed as Vulnerable;
    • Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) – Nationally and WA listed as Vulnerable;
    • Spinifex hopping-mouse (Notomys alexis);
    • Hairy-footed dunnart (Sminthopsis youngsoni);
    • Major Mitchell cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri) – WA listed as Sensitive;
    • Ash-grey mouse (Pseudomys albocinereus).

    Plants:

    • Small-petalled beyeria (Beyeria lepidopetala) EPBC listed as Endangered, WA listed as Vulnerable (presumed extinct until 2005);
    • Northern dwarf spider-orchid (Caladenia bryceana subsp. cracens) – EPBA listed as Vulnerable, WA listed as Endangered;
    • Kalbarri spider-orchid (Caladenia wanosa– EPBC listed as Vulnerable, WA listed as Endangered;
    • Beard’s mallee (Eucalyptus beardiana) – EPBC listed as Vulnerable, WA listed as Endangered;
    • Wreath flower (Lechenaultia macrantha).

    Vegetation communities:

    • York gum woodland;
    • Scrub-heath;
    • Shrublands of acacia, casuarina, Eucalyptus eudesmoides (mallalie), Ashby’s banksia;
    • Sceptre banksia and sandplain cypress woodland;
    • Acacia rostellifera (summer-scented wattle) thicket.

    More information on Eurardy Reserve can be found on the Bush Heritage Australia website.

  • 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.

The coastline of the Shire of Northampton is dominated by the Tumblagooda Sandstone, which was formed during the Ordovician period from sedimentary and volcanic rocks. The Tumblagooda Sandstone consists of fine to coarse grained red-bed sandstone, with minor siltstone. The geology underlying the area in and around the town site of the Northampton forms part of the Northampton Complex, comprises of granite rock, paragneiss, quartz and feldspar.

The Winning Group underlies the area east of Kalbarri, which was formed during the Cretaceous period form sedimentary and volcanic rocks. The Winning Group consists of undivided shale, siltstone, marl and basal sandstone. The north western portion of the shire is dominated by the Cape Range Group which comprises of toolonga cacilutite, cardabia calrenite and the Tamala limestone.

The Nangetty formation underlies the eastern portion of the shire. The Nangetty formation was formed during the Carboniferous-permian period from sedimentary and volcanic rock. The Nangetty formation consists of diamictite, shale and sandstone.

The Cattamarra Coal measures underlies the south west portion the shire. The Cattamarra Coal Measures was formed during the Jurassic period from volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The Cattamarra Coal Measures consists of siltstone, shale, claystone, coal and sandstone. Underlying the area east the Cattamarra Coal Measures is the Kockatea Shale, which was formed during the Triassic period from sedimentary and volcanic rocks. The Kockatea Shale consists of shale, siltstone and sandstone.

The coastal area consists of deep calcareous sandy soils overlying a diversified landscape of coastal dunes, low hills and emergent limestone outcrops. Much of the area lying east of the coast consists of deep siliceous sandy coloured soils overlying a system of gentle undulating sand plains and low stony ridges. The soils overlies the Northampton Complex comprise of red loamy duplexes. The area east of the Northampton complex consists of sandy/loamy gravelly soil. The eastern portion of the shire consists of yellow deep sands, with yellow and brown sandy earth, overlying a landscape dominated by numerous dune ridges. Small areas of red shallow loams and red-brown hardpan soils often associated with a relic drainage line, also occurs in the eastern portion of shire.

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

http://www.arcgis.com/apps/StorytellingTextLegend/index.html?appid=88b626db0f3a479e9b526a50b58f551b

Priority Fauna Species

IBRA Regions

  • Geraldton Hills subregion (Geraldton Sandplains 1)

    The Geraldton Hills is located in the LGAs in the middle portion of the region. This subregion is characterised by sand heaths of emergent Banksia and Cypresses, York Gum woodlands on alluvial plains. Areas of limestone are dominated by proteaceous heath and Acacia scrubs. Low closed Acacia shrublands occupies much of the alluvial plains associated with the Greenough and Irwin Rivers (Desmond and Chant, 2001b).

  • Edel Subregion (Yalgoo1)

    The Edel subregion is located in the northern LGAs in the NAR. This subregion formerly a subregion of the  Geraldton Sandplains, forms a part of the Yalgoo IBRA. It is considered to be unique because it is a transition zone for flora and fauna of the South western and Carnarvon Bioregions. Much of the region is dominated by proteaceous shrubs, Acacia and Casuarina scrub (Desmond and Chant, 2001a).

Threatened Ecological Communities

  • *Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh

    Consists of the assemblage of plants, animals and micro-organisms associated with saltmarsh in coastal regions of sub-tropical and temperate Australia (south of 23o S latitude). The habitat is coastal areas under tidal influence. In southern latitudes saltmarsh are the dominant habitat in the intertidal zone and often occur in association with estuaries. It is typically restricted to the upper intertidal environment, generally between the elevation of the mean high tide, and the mean spring tide. The community consists mainly of salt-tolerant vegetation (halophytes) including: grasses, herbs, reeds, sedges and shrubs.

    Succulent herbs and grasses generally dominate and vegetation is generally <0.5m tall with the exception of some reeds and sedges. Many species of non-vascular plants are also found in saltmarsh, including epiphytic algae, diatoms and cyanobacterial mats. Saltmarsh consists of many vascular plant species but is dominated by relatively few families. There is also typically a high degree of endemism at the species level. The two most widely represented coastal saltmarsh plant families are the Chenopodiaceae and Poaceae. Four structural saltmarsh forms are currently recognised based on dominance of a particular vegetation type:

    • dominance by succulent shrubs (e.g. Tecticornia)
    • dominance by grasses (e.g. Sporobolus virginicus)
    • dominance by sedges and grasses (e.g. Juncus kraussii, Gahnia trifida)
    • dominance by herbs (e.g. low-growing creeping plants such as Wilsonia backhousei, Samolus repens, Schoenus nitens).

    Category (WA) – Priority 3(iii)

    Category EPBC Act – Vulnerable TEC

    For more information visit the DPaW website.

Priority Ecological Communities

  • Shrublands of the Northampton area, dominated by Melaleuca species over exposed Kockatea Shale

    Heath on breakaways located in Port Gregory, west of Northampton. Community includes priority taxa; Ptilotus chortophytum (P1), Leucopogon sp. Port Gregory, Ozothamnus sp. Northampton, Gastrolobium propinquum (P1), outlier of Ptilotus helichrysoides. Unusual geology (Kockatea Shale) outcropping at surface.

    Category (WA) – Priority 1

    For more information visit the DPaW website.

  • Plant assemblages of the Moresby Range system

    Includes the Melaleuca megacephala and Hakea pycnoneura thicket on stony slopes, Verticordia dominated low heath, and Allocasuarina campestris and Melaleuca uncinata thicket on superficial laterite, on Morseby Range.

    Threats: clearing for infrastructure

    For more information visit the DPaW website.

  • Kalbarri ironstone community

    Winter wet, mallee/Melaleuca over herbs. Dense shrubland when burnt. Surrounded by sandplain. Yerina springs and north Eurardy Station. Z-bend loop, Junga Dam. The taxon Eremophila microtheca (previously declared rare flora) occurs in community.

  • Coastal sands dominated by Acacia rostellifera, Eucalyptus oraria and Eucalyptus obtusiflora

    Floristically, this community is similar to other Acacia rostellifera communities but is differentiated on structure, being dominated by mallee eucalypts. The community occurs on limestone ridges, in some swales in the coastal dunes between Cape Burney and Dongara, on the Greenough Alluvial Flats on limestone soil and near Tarcoola Beach. Some very small occurrences have also been recorded on the limestone scarp north of the Buller River.

    Threats: Clearing

    Category (WA) – Priority 1

    For more information visit the DPaW website.

  • *Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh

    Consists of the assemblage of plants, animals and micro-organisms associated with saltmarsh in coastal regions of sub-tropical and temperate Australia (south of 23o S latitude). The habitat is coastal areas under tidal influence. In southern latitudes saltmarsh are the dominant habitat in the intertidal zone and often occur in association with estuaries. It is typically restricted to the upper intertidal environment, generally between the elevation of the mean high tide, and the mean spring tide. The community consists mainly of salt-tolerant vegetation (halophytes) including: grasses, herbs, reeds, sedges and shrubs.

    Succulent herbs and grasses generally dominate and vegetation is generally <0.5m tall with the exception of some reeds and sedges. Many species of non-vascular plants are also found in saltmarsh, including epiphytic algae, diatoms and cyanobacterial mats. Saltmarsh consists of many vascular plant species but is dominated by relatively few families. There is also typically a high degree of endemism at the species level. The two most widely represented coastal saltmarsh plant families are the Chenopodiaceae and Poaceae. Four structural saltmarsh forms are currently recognised based on dominance of a particular vegetation type:

    • dominance by succulent shrubs (e.g. Tecticornia)
    • dominance by grasses (e.g. Sporobolus virginicus)
    • dominance by sedges and grasses (e.g. Juncus kraussii, Gahnia trifida)
    • dominance by herbs (e.g. low-growing creeping plants such as Wilsonia backhousei, Samolus repens, Schoenus nitens).

    Category (WA) – Priority 3(iii)

    Category EPBC Act – Vulnerable TEC

    For more information visit the DPaW website.

Groundwater Areas

  • Gascoyne Groundwater Area

    The Gascoyne Groundwater Area extends north to Kalbarri and bounds the Arrowsmith Groundwater Area east to pastoral country. The largest groundwater aquifer occurs in the Yarragadee Formation, which has an estimated yield of 22.5 million m³/year (NACC, 2005). Groundwater from fractured rock aquifers in the eastern, inland part of the region is predominantly saline and poor yielding. This region of the Gascoyne Groundwater Area falls under the Carnarvon Artesian Basin Allocation Plan.

Rivers

  • Murchison River

    Drainage Basin Length (km) Catchment Area (km2) Average Stream Salinity (mg/L) Key Characteristics
    Murchison 300 14,850 3000-35000 Lower reaches are listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands. Enters the ocean at Gantheaume Bay. River mouth is permanently open to the ocean due to dredging. Major tributaries are the Hope, Yalgar, Roderick and Sandford Rivers.
  • Hutt River

    Drainage Basin Length (km) Catchment Area (km2) Average Stream Salinity (mg/L) Key Characteristics
    Greenough 50 1,254 1000-35000 Drains the farming areas in and around the Waterloo Range, comprising small estuaries, with average depths of less than 3 metres. Only open to the ocean for a few days, mainly during the months of June and August.
  • Bowes River

    Drainage Basin Length (km) Catchment Area (km2) Average Stream Salinity (mg/L) Key Characteristics
    Greenough 50 715/td> 1000-35000 Drains the farming areas in and around the Waterloo Range, comprising small estuaries, with average depths of less than 3 metres. Only open to the ocean for a few days, mainly during the months of June and August.

Wetlands

  • Yerina Springs

    Yerina Springs is a freshwater wetland fed by catchments to the north and west and provides critical habitat for flora species, such as the Endangered Long-leaved myrtle (Hypocalymma longifolium).

  • Murchison River (Lower Reaches)

    A good example of permanent river pools set in a long, narrow, steep-sided gorge.

  • Hutt Lagoon System

    Hutt Lagoon is a good example of a coastal brine lake which is an important site for migratory waders. At present, about 450 hectares of Hutt Lagoon’s approximately 2,500 hectares is being used to cultivate algae from which Beta-Carotene is extracted.

  • Freshwater Springs in Northampton area

Birdlife Midwest

Contact: Sally Vigilante

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
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