Shire of Dandaragan
|Area||~6,716 square kilometres, located ~200 km from Perth.|
|Towns||Badgingarra, Cervantes, Dandaragan, Jurien Bay and Regans Ford|
|Average Temperature||Mean daily maximum temperature over 30 years 1990 – 2019
Coastal: 30.1°C (Jan) and 19.7°C (Jul); Inland: 34.4°C (Jan) and 17.5°C (Jul).
|Annual Rainfall||Average annual rainfall over 30 years 1990 – 2019
Coastal: 551 mm; Inland: 498 mm (BoM 2020).
|ABS Profile||Dandaragan ABS profile|
|Shire Website||Shire of Dandaragan|
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Around 3,200 people live in the Shire of Dandaragan, with the majority of those people living in the coastal towns of Jurien Bay (1,761) and Cervantes (527; ABS 2016).
The population in the Shire of Dandaragan decreased by 2.3% between the last census in 2011 and the most recent census in 2016, but is projected to increase by ~15% by 2031 (DPLH 2016).
Approximately 14% of residents of the Shire of Dandaragan were born overseas and approximately 2.5% are of Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander descent.
Estimates of the resident populations as at 30 June are released annually for Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Australia by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The estimates are generally revised 12 months later and final estimates are available after the following census. Visit the ABS website for further details.
The economy of the Shire of Dandaragan depends primarily on agriculture, fisheries and services. Local farming includes the production of cereal crops (wheat, canola, lupins, oats) and livestock (sheep and cattle). The fisheries sector is focused on a large, although now declining, western Rock Lobster industry. The coastal towns and diverse nature reserves within the Shire are attractive and popular holiday destinations and tourism is an important part of the economy.
The main land uses in the Shire of Dandaragan are agriculture, residential, recreation and nature conservation.
Wongonderrah Nature Reserve
The Wongonderrah Nature Reserve covers ~595 ha and is located north of Cataby.
Watheroo National Park
The Watheroo National Park covers ~ 59 786 ha and at the boundary between the Shires of Coorow, Moora and Dandaragan. The national park contains Jingemia Cave, borders on Pinjarrega Nature Reserve and extends to the banks of the Moore River. Vegetation in the park is characterised by low sandplain heath and Banksia and Mallee thicket, and produces abundant displays of wildflowers in spring.
Wanagarren Nature Reserve
The Wanagarren Nature Reserve covers ~15 055 ha and is located near Wedge Island. The reserve is a good location from which to explore the Jurien Bay Marine Park and the beaches at Wedge and Grey.
Twyata Nature Reserve
The Twyata Nature Reserve covers ~205 ha and is located north of Badgingarra National Park.
Southern Beekeepers Nature Reserve
Southern Beekeepers Nature Reserve was gazetted in 1979 and covers ~15 000 ha. The reserve extends to the high water mark, borders on Nambung National Park and the town of Cervantes and was initially established for flora conservation and apiculture. The occurrence of Tuart Eucalyptus gomphocephala is significant being near the northern limit of its range.
Quins Hill Nature Reserve
The Quins Hill Nature Reserve covers ~11 ha and is located in the Red Gully area east of Regan’s Ford.
Namming and South Mimegarra Nature Reserves
The Namming Nature Reserve covers ~7 215 ha and the adjacent South Mimegarra Nature Reserve covers ~473 ha. The reserves are located just west of Regan’s Ford.
Nambung National Park
The Nambung National Park was created in 1994 by combining three separate reserves, one of which is the Pinnacles Desert gazetted in 1967, and covers ~26 250 ha. The park is also known for its beautiful beaches, coastal dunes and spectacular spring flower displays. Lake Thetis, home to stromatolites built by micro-organisms too small to see, is located in the northern end of the park.
Moochamulla Nature Reserve
The Moochamulla Nature Reserve covers ~57 ha and is located along the banks of the Moore River in the Red Gully area east of Regan’s Ford.
Minyulo Nature Reserve
The Minyulo Nature Reserve covers ~262 ha and is located near Dandaragan.
Manaling Nature Reserve
The Manaling Nature Reserve covers ~285 ha and is located east of Badgingarra.
Lesueur National Park
The Lesueur National Park covers ~36 510 ha and is one of the most important flora conservation reserves in Western Australia. The park is home to around 900 native plant species, representing 10% of Western Australian flora. Birds and reptiles, including the Endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus latirostris, are abundant in the park.
Jam Hill Nature Reserve
The Jam Hill Nature Reserve covers ~248 ha and is located south east of Dandaragan.
Hill River Nature Reserve
The Hill River Nature Reserve covers ~1 138 ha and is located along the banks of the Hill River just inland of Jurien Bay.
Eneminga Nature Reserve
The Eneminga Nature Reserve covers ~1 007 ha and is located south of Cataby.
Drovers Cave National Park
The Drovers Cave National Park was gazetted in 1973 and covers ~3 447 ha inland of Jurien Bay. The reserve is home to a number of limestone caves including Drovers, Hastings, Moorba, Old River and Mystery caves. Native flora within the park include shrub banksia, one-sided bottlebrush and parrot bush and the park supports many reptile species.
Coomallo Nature Reserve
The Coomallo Nature Reserve covers ~11 786 ha and, together with Leseuer National Park, is an area of outstanding flora conservation value. The area’s exceptionally diverse flora of more than 900 species represents 10% of Western Australia’s known flora. The Coomallo Important Bird Area supports at least 1% of the breeding population of Endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo.
Bundarra Nature Reserve
The Bundarra Nature Reserve covers ~290 ha and is located east of Regan’s Ford.
Boothendarra Nature Reserve
The Boothendarra Nature Reserve covers ~2 800 ha and is located near to Badgingarra.
Beekeepers Nature Reserve
Beekeepers Nature Reserve extends from Jurien Bay to just south of Dongara, covering ~88 000 ha. A great variety of wildflowers can be seen in the reserve during the season.
Badgingarra National Park
The Badgingarra National Park was declared in 1973 and covers an approximate area of 17,600 hectares. The park features high breakaway country overlooking low undulating sandplains and is renowned for its incredible diversity of endemic wildflowers. Some of the interesting plants that can be found within the park include rare species such as the Badgingarra Mallee Eucalyptus pendens.
The coastline of the shire is dominated by the Lancelin formation, formed from the volcanic and sedimentary rock that overlies the Perth Basin and consisting of glauconite chalk, marl and calcareous mudstone. Inland areas are dominate by the Osbourne formation, formed from volcanic and sedimentary rock and interbedded with sandstone, siltstone, shale and claystone. To the east, the Leederville formation is interbedded with sandstone, siltstone and minor conglomerate over thin beds of coal seams and the Coolyena group consists of chalk interspersed with greensand, glauconitic, siltstone, sandstone and marl.
Soils along the coast are sandy, forming part of a complex dune system, and include some gravelly soils over limestone outcrops. The landscape inland is characterised by rolling hills interspersed with rocky outcrops and low-lying floodplains. Soils are deep, pale, siliceous sands and gravels.
The shire is located within the Dandaragan Plateau (SWA01) and Perth Swan Coastal Plain (SWA02) IBRA sub-regions and is characterised by Jarrah and Marri woodlands and Banskia heath on sandy soils. Four Threatened Ecological Communities (TECs) are found in the shire. These are two national TECs, the vulnerable Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh and endangered Banksia Woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain, as well as the Stromatolite Community of Lake Thetis and the Lesueur-Coomallo Floristic Community D1. The Lesueur-Coomallo region is extremely floristically diverse, supporting ~1,000 plant species, and an important breeding ground for endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhuncus latirostris. A large part of Jurien Bay Marine Park is also located off the coast of the shire. The islands in the Marine Park are home to endemic species like the vulnerable Jurien Bay Skink Liopholis pulchra longicauda, important haul out and pupping grounds for vulnerable Australian Sea Lion Neophoca cinerea, support a population of endangered Dibbler Parantechinus apicalis on Boullanger and Whitlock Islands and provide important breeding habitat for seabirds including Wedge-tailed Shearwater Ardenna pacificus and Roseate Tern Sterna dougalli.
Wedge Island Nature Reserve
The Wedge Island Nature Reserve forms part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The island is also part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group. Wedge Island differs from the other islands in that it is periodically joined to the mainland by a wide sandbar. This has historically enable access and led to more widespread erosion and weed invasion than is evident on the other islands.
The coastline of the Northern Agricultural Region consists mainly of sandy beaches backed by low dunes, valued for recreational, aesthetic and cultural reasons and as storm protection and habitat. Primary dunes, or foreshore dunes, refer to the first system of dunes shoreward of the low water mark. These dunes typically support little vegetation. Secondary dunes, or back dunes, are undulating, sandy ecosystems located further from the water.
The Central West Coast limestone reef system extends from Kalbarri to Perth and supports an extremely high species diversity of seagrasses. Extensive seagrass meadows in protected, near-shore areas of the NAR, provide shelter and nursery habitat for many fish and other marine creatures including Western Rock Lobster. Seagrasses also provides services as primary biomass producers, sources of dissolved oxygen, sediment traps and nutrient cyclers.
Sandland Island Nature Reserve
The Sandland Island Nature Reserve forms part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The island is part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group and provide breeding habitat for seabirds in the region.
Ronsard Rocks Nature Reserve
The Ronsard Rocks Nature Reserve forms part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The islands are part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group. The islands provide breeding habitat for seabirds.
Outer Rocks Nature Reserve
The Outer Rocks Nature Reserve forms part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The islands are part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group. Both North and South Outer Rocks provide breeding habitat for seabirds in the region.
Jurien Bay Marine Park
The Jurien Bay Marine Park was declared in 2003, covers ~111 180 ha and extends for around 5.5 km offshore between Wedge and Green Head. The park contains an extensive limestone reef system, forming shallow lagoons and seagrass meadows, and incorporates many island nature reserves that provide habitat for rare and endangered animals, including the Vulnerable Jurien Bay Skink Liopholis pulchra longicauda and the Endangered Dibbler Parantechinus apicalis. The park also contains breeding sites for Australian Sea Lions Neophoca cinerea and numerous seabirds.
Fisherman Islands Nature Reserve
The Fisherman Islands Nature Reserve forms part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The islands are part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group. North Fisherman Island is one of the few breeding sites for Australian Sea Lions Neophoca cinerea in Western Australia.
Essex Rocks Nature Reserve
The Essex Rocks Nature Reserve forms part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The islands are all part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group. Middle and North Essex Rock are used by Vulnerable Australian Sea Lions Neophoca cinerea as haul out and foraging areas.
Escape Island Nature Reserve
The Escape Island Nature Reserve forms part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The 27 ha island is part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group. It supports a population of the Vulnerable Jurien Bay Skink Liopholis pulchra longicauda, Endangered Dibbler Parantechinus apicalis and relatively high plant diversity.
Cervantes Islands Nature Reserve
The Cervantes Islands Nature Reserve forms part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The islands are all part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group. North Cervantes supports more than 50 plant species and all three Cervantes islands are used as haul out and foraging sites by Australian Sea Lions Neophoca cinerea.
Buller, Whittell & Green Islands Nature Reserve
The Buller, Whittell & Green Islands Nature Reserve was gazetted in 1989 and now forms part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The islands are all part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group. Buller Island is one of the few breeding sites for Australian Sea Lions Neophoca cinerea in Western Australia.
Boullanger, Whitlock, Favourite, Tern & Osprey Islands Nature Reserve
These islands form part of the ~111 180 ha Jurien Bay Marine Park which was declared in 2003. The islands are all part of the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group and among the few populations of Endangered Dibbler Parantechinus apicalis in the Northern Agricultural Region are found on Boullanger and Whitlock Islands, where plant diversity is relatively high.
Jurien Groundwater Area
The Jurien Groundwater Area covers over 5,000 km2 of land and produces ~84 million m3 of available groundwater per year. Groundwater abstraction in the area is low and only 21% of groundwater resources are allocated. Large aquifers occur in the Parmelia and Leederville formations. The Superﬁcial formation is an important resource near the coast. Water quality is variable.
River Length (km) Key Characteristics Nambung 22 The Nambung River meanders between the towns of Cervantes and Badgingarra. The river ceases within the Nambung National Park in Karst terrain approximately 9 km south east of Cervantes.
Drainage Basin Length (km) Catchment Area (km2) Average Stream Salinity (mg/L) Key Characteristics Moore-Hill 124 3,721 1000-3000 Originates east of Badgingarra and enters the ocean halfway between Cervantes and Jurien. The estuary is blocked by a sandbar for most of the year and the rivers major tributaries are the Munbinea, Coomallo, Boothendarra and Winjardie Creeks. The lower reaches are also groundwater fed.
Lake Thetis is one of few lakes where both submerged benthic microbial mats and developing microbial structures occur. The shallow pools on the south western shore provide the perfect environment for cyanobacteria, which are the building blocks for stromatolites, the regions only ‘living fossils’. The stromatolite-building micro-organisms of Lake Thetis resemble the earliest forms of life on Earth and the structures are ~2,000 years old.
Lake Guraga is a good example of a large saline lake on the Swan Coastal Plain and provides significant habitat for water birds. Lake Guraga is the largest of the lakes and swamps on the Dandaragan Plateau and is listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia.