Mount Archer National Park Capricorn

Open eucalypt forest dominates the elevated areas of Mount Archer National Park. Photo credit: Bryce Millar © Queensland Government

Nature, culture and history

    We recognise the traditional custodians of Mount Archer (Nurim)—the Darumbal people, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

    Culture and history

    Mount Archer (Nurim) is part of the Darumbal Nurimbra clan’s traditional country. Every hill and creek is of special significance. The abundant natural resources of the area provide food, medicine, tools, weapons and special items required for ceremony.

    The Archer brothers explored the Fitzroy area in 1853 and named the Berserker Range and Mount Sleipner. Mount Archer was later named in their honour.

    In the nineteenth century, gold was mined on a small scale in the Berserker Range. The current national park was set aside as a water reserve in 1898, and two years later grazing leases were issued. The area was then declared a timber reserve in 1940 with mainly ironbark, white mahogany and lemon-scented gum being harvested.

    The last grazing lease expired in 1974 and the timber reserve was revoked in 1985. The estate was gazetted as an environmental park in 1987, then as a national park in 1994.

    Natural environment

    From the distance, the landscape is a block of impressive mountainous country. Mount Archer rises steeply from the northern suburbs of Rockhampton, while the Berserker and Flat Top Ranges continue southwards to near the mouth of the Fitzroy River. Formed in the Permian period, about 255-280 million years ago, the high terrain of the national park is dominated by the large rhyolite to dacite intrusives. Learn more about the geology of Mount Archer (PDF, 698.2KB) .

    Most of Mount Archer is adapted to seasonally dry conditions and supports fire-tolerant open eucalypt forest. However, different vegetation grows in areas protected from fire – such as the dry vine forest growing on the steep rocky slopes and the rainforest sheltering in the moist creek terrace and lower slopes.

    Yellow stringybark open forest with a ground layer of grasstrees and cycads is common in the more elevated areas. Lemon-scented gum open forest with pink bloodwoods and forest she-oaks dominates many of the steeper areas with a southern or eastern aspect.

    The drier northern and western slopes tend to be dominated by a narrow-leaved red ironbark open forest and woodlands that frequently have an understorey of brush box.

    Many of the sheltered gullies and especially the upper headwaters of Moore’s Creek are closed forest communities. Rainforest with ferns and cabbage-tree palms line the lower gullies adjoining Moores Creek. The rainforest, with spreading figs and motley-barked scrub ironwoods, has an open understorey dotted with ferns and seedlings.

    A small patch of dense dry vine forest, with Burdekin plum, tuckeroo and python trees, and twisting woody vines, grows in a protected pocket on the edge of the rainforest.

    In the lower and more open section of Moores Creek valley leaning paperbarks, red-flowering bottlebrushes and tall river she-oaks line the creek banks. Mixed open forests of swamp mahogany, blue gum and bloodwood grow on adjacent flats while ironbark, thin-stemmed brush box and cocky apples are on nearby slopes. Figs, prickly native lime and chainfruit grow in shaded gullies.

    Uncover Mount Archer's wildlife

    Look carefully in the open forest. You might see ground-dwelling reptiles like skinks, blue-tongue lizards and yellow-faced whip snakes.

    Keep watch for parties of sittellas, lorikeets and honeyeaters feeding in the canopy. See powerful owls and glossy black-cockatoos in Mount Archer's forests. Listen for continuous clicking sounds as glossy black-cockatoos break forest she-oak tree cones to feed on the seeds inside.

    Hear rufous shrike-thrush, white-browed scrubwrens and Australian brush-turkeys in the rainforest. This patch of forest produces enough fruit to seasonally sustain a population of brown cuckoo-doves, wompoo fruit-doves and topknot pigeons.

    At night, brushtail possums scurry about and flying foxes feed on flowering eucalypts and paperbarks. The forest floor comes alive with the sound of northern brown bandicoots and small native rodents, called melomys, shuffling through the leaves as they search for a meal.

    Wait quietly to see unadorned rock-wallabies come to drink from the creek in the early morning and late afternoon. Trout gudgeons (small native fish) live in small ponds, avoiding freshwater crayfish from below and kingfishers from above.

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