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Nature, culture and history
The park has a fascinating geological history, with three ancient lava flows, two of which date back 2.4 million years. The summit of Mt Keelbottom, rising 130 metres above the plain, can be viewed from a distance.
The Burdekin River meanders between the eastern end of the Great Basalt Wall to the west and Mt Keelbottom to the north. During the dry season the river edges are sandy and tall grasses grow along the banks and flats. The river banks provide excellent opportunities for viewing waterbirds such as the magnificent white-bellied sea eagle and black-necked stork.
The vegetation at Dalrymple consists of mainly open woodland, including a variety of eucalypts such as the Moreton Bay ash and the blue gum. The variety of woodland plants makes the park an important refuge for native animals including agile and rock wallabies, rufous bettong, squirrel gliders and sugar gliders.
The site of the old Dalrymple township can be found on the western bank of the Burdekin River. Built in 1864, it was the first inland settlement to be surveyed in northern Australia. Following the discovery of gold at Cape River in 1867 and Gilbert River in 1869, Dalrymple grew from a teamster camp to a thriving town with five hotels and many other businesses.
In 1870, however, Dalrymple suffered a major setback when it was largely destroyed by floods. A further blow came with the discovery of gold at nearby Ravenswood and Charters Towers. By 1901, little evidence of the settlement remained. Only gravesites, fences, pavements and old mine sites remain today as a legacy of the time. Please note that certain areas of the township are privately owned.