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Fitzgerald River National Park

Welcome to the first of a new series of mini-portfolios of worldwide destinations salvaged from a repository of nearly 90,000 colour transparencies filed away in six filing cabinets at a long-suffering friend’s home.

They’re the carefully-culled selection of a four-decades’ long career as a freelance writer/photographer.

Below is a small selection taken on assignment in the Fitzgerald River National Park in southern Western Australia.

The 250,000 hectare park is about 300km east of Albany.

Click here to see the gallery

It is a harsh environment encompassing a bleak landscape of spongolite cliffs honeycombed by the elements; scraggly dry streambeds outline with salt tidemarks; bronze-toned granite flecked with red flashes of weathered flaking rock; a coastal barrier of sand dunes as white as snow; broad valleys carpeted with low scrub, paperbark, rough mallee and wiry melaleucas; and three low ranges each topped with a small barren summit named Barren.

The three peaks — West, Mid and East Mount Barren — are remnant islands, once barely 90 metres about sea level.

Their existence is responsible for the botanical abundance found in the threatened boundaries of the National Park,

While still islands in an ancient sea, they provided refuge for the fertile flotsam of the plant world seeking anchor during the mammoth upheavals of the Proterozoic period some 3000 million years ago.

This was the age of Gondwanaland, the super continent formed when the world’s land masses were one and the fertile Fitzgerald River area was joined to Antarctica.

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