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, formed during the cretaceous period from volcanic and sedimentary rocks, interbedded with sandstone, siltstone, shale and claystone. The west of the shire is characterised by alluvial sand plains with undulating rises and steep breakaway. These areas have loamy and sandy gravelly soils overlaid with small areas of loamy earth and deep siliceous pale sands. The east of the shire is characterised by undulating low hills, migmatitic rocky outcrops and granitic rocks. The soils are deep yellow and sandy overlying gravelly subsoil. Small of areas of non-alkaline soils of sandy and loamy duplexes exist in this area. The underlying geology is the south western Yilgarn craton, comprised of igneous and metamorphic rocks, layered with quartz feldspar and biotite gneiss.
The shire is located within the Katanning (AVW02), Northern Jarrah Forest (JAF01) and Dandaragan Plateau (SWA01) IBRA sub-regions and is characterised by low woodlands and shrublands. Some Banksia Woodland of the Swan Coastal Plain can be found in the shire. This is a nationally protected Threatened Ecological Community listed as endangered under Australia’s national environment law. Remaining patches of this ecological community provide important wildlife corridors and refuges in a mostly fragmented landscape. Priority 1 Red Morrel (Eucalyptus longicornis) habitat, sometimes associated with Salmon Gum (E. salmonophloia) and York Gum (E. loxophleba) woodland, is also found in the shire.
New Norcia Water Reserve
New Norcia Water Reserve is located in the western margin of the Yilgarn Craton and supplies water to the town of New Norcia. The water reserve recharges directly from rainfall, with approximately 40% of annual rainfall infiltrating into the water reserve. The New Norcia Water Reserve occurs in a shallow paleochannel and is considered vulnerable to contamination.
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.