Shire of Victoria Plains
|Area||~2,569 square kilometres, located ~160 km north of Perth.|
|Towns||Bolgart, Calingiri, New Norcia and Piawaning.|
|Average Temperature||Mean daily maximum temperature over 30 years 1990 – 2019
34.8°C (Jan) and 17.2°C (Jul).
|Annual Rainfall||Average annual rainfall over 30 years 1990 – 2019 356 mm (BoM 2020).|
|ABS Profile||Victoria Plains ABS profile|
|Shire Website||Shire of Victoria Plains|
Around 915 people live in the Shire of Victoria Plains, across a number of small towns in the region (ABS 2016). The largest towns are Bolgart (483 people) and Piawaring (309).
The population in the Shire of Victoria Plains remained stable between the last census in 2011 and the most recent census in 2016, but is projected to decrease by ~10% by 2031 (DPLH 2016).
Approximately 14% of residents of the Shire of Victoria Plains were born overseas and approximately 3% are of Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander descent.
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 Victoria Plains depends primarily on broad acre agriculture and the services that support farming in the area. Local farming includes the production of cereal crops (wheat, canola, lupins, oats) and livestock (primarily sheep for wool). New Norcia, Australia’s only monastic town, is a popular tourist attraction that draws over 60,000 visitors a year.
The main land use in the Shire of Victoria Plains is agriculture.
Sevenmile Well Nature Reserve
The Sevenmile Well Nature Reserve covers ~72 ha and is located in the Yarawindah area.
Rica Erickson Nature Reserve
The Rica Erickson Nature Reserve was established in 1996 and covers ~171 ha. The reserve is located south west of Calingiri and was named after Australian naturalist Frederica Erickson. The reserve protects a remnant Wandi woodland and is a good example of transition between forest and wheatbelt.
Mogumber and Mogumber West Nature Reserves
The Mogumber Nature Reserve covers ~298 ha and Mogumber West Nature Reserve covers ~354 ha. Both reserves are located along the Moore River, near to Mogumber townsite. The Mogumber Nature Reserve is an important habitat for the critically endangered Western Swamp Tortoise Pseudemydura umbrina.
Moganmoganing Nature Reserve
The Moganmoganing Nature Reserve covers ~72 ha and is located in the wildflower district east of Wannamal.
Koodjee Nature Reserve
The Koodjee Nature Reserve covers ~173 ha and is located north west of Gillingarra along the banks of the Moore River North.
Gillingarra Nature Reserve
The Gillingarra Nature Reserve covers ~138 ha on the banks of the Moore River North. The reserve is one of the important areas within the Gillingarra Important Bird Area. It supports at least 1% of the breeding population of Endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo, which nest in marri trees and forage in proteaceous heath.
The western boundary of the shire is dominated by the Osborne formation. The Osborne Formation was formed during the cretaceous period from volcanic and sedimentary rocks, which is interbedded with sandstone, siltstone shale and claystone. To the east of the Osborne formation, this area is characterised by mylonite and gneiss that has derived from archean rocks. The eastern portion of the shire underlying geology occurs in the south western terrain of the Yilgarn craton. The underlying geology comprises of igneous and metamorphic rocks, layered with quartz feldspar and biotite gneiss. The geology underlying the eastern boundary of the shire includes granitic rock
The eastern shire is characterised by undulating rises to low hills migmataitic rocky outcrops and granitic rocks. The soils are described as deep yellow sandy with yellow to brown sandy earth soils overlying gravelly subsoil. Small of areas of non-alkaline soils of sandy and loamy duplexes exist in this area. The western portion of the shire is characterised by alluvial sand plains with undulating rises to steep breakaway slopes. Loamy and sandy gravelly soils underlies the western portion of the Shire, with small areas of loamy earth soils and deep siliceous pale sands.
Please go to the below link for more information on soil and geology in the region
Priority Fauna Species
Re-juvenated Drainage subregion (Avon Wheatbelt 2)
The Re-juvenated Drainage subregion occurs in the eastern LGAs of the NAR. The Rejuvenate drainage subregion is characterised by undulating rises and low hills with low areas associated with the watercourses in area. The vegetation consists of woodlands of Wandoo, York Gum and trees of Salmon Gum over shrublands of jam and casuarinas (Beecham, 2001b).
Northern Jarrah Forest subregion (Jarrah Forest 1)
The Northern Jarrah Forrest is located in the southern LGAs. This subregion is characterised by Jarrah- Marri Forest over lateritic gravel. Woodlands of Wandoo – Marri forest over clayey soils in the east. In areas of Mesozoic sediment exists Jarrah forests occurring with a variety of other flora species (Williams and Mitchell, 2001).
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
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.
Priority Ecological Communities
Red Morrel Woodland of the Wheatbelt
Tall open woodlands of Eucalyptus longicornis (red morrell) found in the Wheatbelt on lateritic, ironstone or granitic soil types. Sometimes found with Eucalyptus salmonophloia (Salmon Gum), or E. loxophleba (York Gum) woodlands and has very little understorey. It is also found directly above lake systems in the central and eastern Wheatbelt. The landscape unit in which it is found is valley floors, usually adjacent to saline areas.
Category (WA) – Priority 1
For more information visit the DPaW website.
New Norcia Water Reserve
New Norcia Water Reserve is situated in the western margin of the Yilgarn Craton. It supplies water to the town of New Norcia. The water reserve is dependent upon direct recharging by rainfall, with approximately 40% of annual rainfall infiltrates into the water reserve. The New Norcia Water Reserve occurs in a shallow paleochannel, therefore this is considered to be vulnerable to contamination (DoW, 2009).
See the New Norcia Water Reserve drinking water source protection plan for more information.
Drainage Basin Length (km) Catchment Area (km2) Average Stream Salinity (mg/L) Key Characteristics Moore-Hill 288 13,450 3000-35000 The Moore River’s eastern reaches (Moore River East) which originates near Dalwallinu, and northern reaches (Moore River North) commences east of Coorow. The major tributaries are the Coonderoo River and Gingin Brook. The Moore River enters the ocean at Guilderton and the estuary is only open to the ocean for a few weeks each year.