SEVEN BACKYARDS HOME NORTH AMERICA:     Santa Monica Mts.     Valyermo     Kansas     Oregon     Arizona     AUSTRALIA:   South Australia     Western Australia
Western Australian Studies
Noel McFarland (1971-1978)
BACKYARD 6 — GERALDTON, WEST AUSTRALIA

home Howatharra Botanical Photo Gallery Howatharra Plant Species List pdfs maps links
HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE: BOTANICAL PHOTO GALLERY
Miscellaneous INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE A STROLL ALONG THE MEANDERING KANGAROO-TRAILS (see booklet, p.21) THAT CRISS-CROSS THE DENSE BUSHLAND AT HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE, looking closely as you go! Don't miss the tiny ephemeral floral elements, unique in their great abundance and diversity at this location (June-August).... You may, perhaps, thereby deduce why (back in 1973), I felt absolutely impelled to rescue this botanical treasure-house from the impending doom of so-called "progress" -- that is, reflex-conversion to "ocean-view lots" ($$$$$$), or to merely a few more boring hectares of generic wheat-&-sheep. For me, it was all about "Western Australia — The Wildflower State": Because someone took that hype seriously 36 years ago, you can now enjoy this rich remnant sample, of the Geraldton Region's once-extensive botanical heritage, still intact today in the Moresby Range at Howatharra Gap,where the reserve is situated.
My above reference to the threat of impending "development" (curtains for the natural habitat), in the Howatharra locality, was not idle speculation: Very soon after we obtained freehold private ownership of the core parcel (the NW. corner of Vic. Loc. 10550), I encountered, early one summer morning, a well-known local real estate shark prowling about on our land, inspecting the access-road to the M.R.D. gravel quarry, which cuts across the center of the reserve AND provides a panorama of splendid "ocean views" to the distant western horizon! He wanted to know, "How did you obtain this freehold parcel way out here amongst the farming properties?" [No relevant information was shared; all sorts of peripheral topics were discussed instead!].... Had we not arrived upon the scene at exactly the time that we did, "Ocean-view Lots" would, by now, have long been established at this location -- complete with yapping dogs, feral cats, roaring motor bikes, and the thorough eradication of all that nasty "brush" (or "worthless scrub", as it was then typically described).... Thrilling exotic "replacements" could certainly be anticipated (pink oleander, white oleander, other shades of ole-bloody-ander, yellow lantana, orange lantana, mauve lantana, geraniums, manicured lawns, and pink plastic flamingos, etc., etc., etc.)....
Photographic Documentation: Up until the time of our departure in Dec. of 1978, approximately 367 species of Howatharra plants had been documented by photography and/or by collected (pressed) specimens, most of which went to the W.A. Herbarium in Perth. Of these, about 207 spp. were actually photographed in the habitat, depicting most of them in new growth, during the winter/spring flowering season of June through October. And, there are also quite a few general habitat views, depicting the (woody) summer flora when dry and dormant as well (±Nov. or Dec. to April). Of the 367 spp. then recorded, only about 38 spp. (±10% of the total) were known to be not native to the region (i.e., introduced or naturalised). Most of these could be referred to as "weedy" in appearance. Undoubtedly, more unidentified plants still await discovery on the reserve -- both native and introduced (particularly on Crown Grant 3 and Vic. Loc. 2862, which are designated here as the "NW" and "NE Blocks"). But, I suspect that this present listing records (by scientific name) at least 80% of the 400 spp. of higher plants known to be growing on the reserve, although nearly half of these species still remain to be photographed (see Col. 2 of the spreadsheets).
In the event that a fire should ever pass through the reserve (or parts thereof), it would be no great disaster: This is very much a fire-adapted flora,and such an event would have a powerful rejuvenating effect on all (or most) of the shrubby native plants growing in this habitat. And, of course, many new seedlings of the ephemeral flora could be expected to germinate with the next rains.... If there have been any fires since1978(??), when my plant collecting and photography at Howatharra Hill terminated, it is conceivable that some changes in the described appearance (composition)of the vegetation may have occurred, at least in certain parts of the reserve. The photos in this gallery are now historical, depicting the living habitat of the original core purchase exactly as it was during the 1970's.
For details regarding the exact location of Howatharra Hill Reserve, go to p.3 of the small introductory booklet which we produced in 1977 (printed by Geraldton Newspapers). There was also a brief mention of H.H.R. published in the Summer 1988 issue of the Western Australian conservation magazine, "LANDSCOPE", Vol.4(2):43-46, under the sub-heading "Moresby Range" (pp.45-46). The article was appropriately entitled, "Buying Back the Farm"! (pdf 2M) For a more widely available introduction to the SW. Australian flora in general (but only showcasing a tiny handful of spp.), see the all-too-brief article by P.A. Zahl (Dec. 1976), in National Geographic Magazine 150(6):858-868 — "Southwest Australia's Wild Gardens: Bizarre & Beautiful" (great color photos).

-- NOEL McFARLAND (2011)
6A — Nemopterid & Moth Studies

NEMOPTERID Study

Moth Study (CARTHAEA)


6B — Sidetracked by Stapeliads!

Sidetracked by Stapeliads!


6C — Howatharra Hill Reserve

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE

The EARLY HISTORY of HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE near GERALDTON, WESTERN AUSTRALIA (1968-1988)

The Concept of So-Called "DEVELOPMENT"

HOWATHARRA: INTERPRETATION of the SPREADSHEET COLUMNS

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE: ABOUT the "ZONES" CREATED FOR DOCUMENTING LOCATIONS on the Reserve

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE: FLOWER COLOURS CODED

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE: Comments on the PHOTOS in the GALLERY

MORE PLANT DOCUMENTATION NEEDED at HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE!

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE: BOTANICAL PHOTO GALLERY

FINAL COMMENT: The Fruits of "Progress"