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About Mount Etna Caves
Limestone outcrops and dense, decorated caves are protected in Mount Etna Caves National Park. Mount Etna is the roosting site for more than 80 per cent of Australia's breeding population of little bent-wing bats. The park is also one of the few places in Australia supporting a colony of vulnerable ghost bats.
The Archer Brothers, who settled in the Rockhampton area in the 1850s, named Mount Etna after the volcano in Sicily. From 1914 to 1939, the caves were mined for guano, a natural fertiliser, and from 1925 for limestone. During World War II, commandos trained here. The national park was established in 1975 to protect the caves, and a subsequent campaign to save other caves included the protection of Mount Etna.
The area was once submerged by a shallow sea and has been alternately shaped by, and then starved of, water. Limestone from ancient coral reefs formed the rocky karst seen today. As Mount Etna's landscape has evolved, so too have people's attitudes. Once the focus of Australia's longest conservation dispute, Mount Etna Caves National Park now protects the mountain for future generations.
Mount Etna Caves National Park helps protect Queensland's wonderful natural diversity and scenery. Please help keep it special by following the guidelines below.
- Refrain from touching the limestone. These ancient caves took eons to form and are easily damaged.
- Protect the wildlife. Remember, plants and animals (dead or alive) are protected.
- Leave no rubbish. Rubbish bins are not provided so take it with you when you leave.
- Leave pets at home. Pets can kill or frighten wildlife, and could become lost or injured. They are not permitted in national parks.
- Be considerate. People visit parks and forests to enjoy nature, not noisy visitors or radios.
See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.
The first section of Mount Etna Caves National Park was gazetted in April 1974. Parts of Mount Etna and the Bat Cleft scientific area were added to the park in 1990.
Nine years later the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) agreed to a proposal by Cement Australia and the Central Queensland Speleological Society to jointly purchase Cammoo Caves. On 27 November 1999 Cammoo Caves was added to the park.
The park now serves as a monument to the ongoing reconciliation between the conservationists who fought to save the park's bats, and the mining company now actively restoring the area.
QPWS manages the park to conserve its outstanding natural features and a management plan will be developed in the future.
Capricorn Spire Visitor Information Centre
Tropic of Capricorn Spire, Gladstone Road, Rockhampton
ph (07) 4921 2311 or 1800 676 701
fax (07) 4922 2605
For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.
Bat Cleft ranger-guided tour bookings
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
61 Yeppoon Road, Parkhurst QLD 4702
(07) 4936 0570 (work hours)
0429 630 923 (after hours)