In October 2018 Friends of Ku-ring-gai Environment (FOKE) resolved to commence a campaign to call for the UNESCO World Heritage listing of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park (KCNP).
This has now developed into a proposal for the eventual listing of a potential Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark resulting from the significance of the GeoRegion’s outstanding geological features. The initial focus is the development of a designated ‘GeoRegion’, with geotrail development signage and promotion of its significance. To date we have received strong support from key stakeholders within the three Councils, local politicians and several State Government Ministers, and the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.
FOKE originally initiated this project with the objective of making a positive contribution to conservation based in and around Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, by seeking recognition of the very significant natural and cultural heritage values. This is exemplified by a wide range of geologically significant features (i.e. geosites) that exist in this area, added to its strong biodiversity recognition.
Having conferred with a range of experts on the geology, geomorphology, natural and cultural heritage values of Ku-ring-Gai Chase National Park, it was decided to extend the area of geoheritage significance to embrace areas in the proximity of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
Natural and Cultural Heritage of the ‘Ku-ring-gai GeoRegion’
The special geosites chosen to profile exist in a broad area (with the working project name of ‘Ku-ring-gai’) and previously classified in 2002 as forming part of the Hornsby Plateau Landscape which includes:
- Cliffs, beaches, and lagoons from Long Reef to Barrenjoey.
- Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
- Muogamarra Nature Reserve.
- Northern Garigal National Park.
- Eastern Berowra Valley National Park.
This outstanding ‘GeoRegion’ contains:
- Numerous geological sites, including several sites of international significance. Currently more than 45 key geosites have been identified across the area.
- Extensive rare and threatened flora and fauna
- Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park was registered on the National Heritage List in 2006, with the following assessment:
‘Summary of Significance: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Long Island, Lion Island, and Spectacle Island Nature Reserves contain an exceptional representation of the Sydney region biota, a region which is recognised as a nationally outstanding centre of biodiversity. The place contains a complex pattern of 24 plant communities, including heathland, woodland, open forest, swamps and warm temperate rainforest, with a high native plant species richness of over 1000 species and an outstanding diversity of bird and other animal species. The place is an outstanding example of a centre of biodiversity.’
- The area provides a vast array of Aboriginal heritage sites including rock engravings, cave art sites, grinding grooves, shell middens, occupational deposits, stone arrangements and burials. It is one of Australia’s most dense areas for Aboriginal sites. Over 570 sites recorded, some with multiple site traits.
Of international geological significance:
- The proposed ‘Ku-ring-gai’ GeoRegion reveals the best exposed geological section of early to mid-Triassic period (240 million years ago) sedimentary rocks in the Sydney Basin.
- The sediments were deposited in Gondwana adjacent to a high latitude coast under a cold climate in fluvial, lacustrine, and shallow marine environments. Various rock units contain a diversity of fossils that inform us of past environments over nearly 50 million years.
- The GeoRegion includes eight volcanic diatremes (pipes) and associated dykes with the Hornsby diatreme having perhaps the best known exposed geological section in NSW, if not in all Australia.
Of particular interest, the geomorphology comprising deep valleys, extensive estuaries, pocket beaches, headland cliffs and coastal lagoons was formed by post-glacial sea level rise.
Dr John Martyn, a member of our Steering Committee, has produced a 135 page book highlighting the importance of the features of the area. A sample of this book is available here.