Heathcote National Park

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Heathcote is a national park in New South Wales (Australia), 34 km southwest of Sydney. It lies west of the South Coast Line and the suburbs of Heathcote and Waterfall.

Contents

Description

The park consists of 2250 hectares of eucalyptus forest and has no private vehicular access. Access to the park can be gained from Freeman Road Heathcote[1]. A walking track is located at the rear of the Scout Hall in Freeman Road. Heading south along the track will take you past various watering holes and small waterfalls that can be found all the way along. Following this road all the way to end will eventually lead you to Woronora Dam. Access to the park can be found at several other points around Heathcote and Waterfall.

History

Before this bush area became a park of any kind, a bushwalking group had a lease on much of the land in the area. They may have been responsible for the creation of some of the early tracks and camp sites. Later, the area became a state park and, later still, a national park.

Aboriginal people are known to have lived in the area and have left their mark at a number of known sites.[2] In addition, a number of Europeans lived in rough huts in the park during the Great Depression of the 1930s, leaving behind meager ruins at places like Myuna Creek.[3]

Landscape

The park consists of a deeply dissected Hawkesbury sandstone plateau, part of the Woronora Plateau The creek gorges include Heathcote Creek, a tributary of the Georges River. The sandstone was formed 200 million years ago, and periods of uplift began about 94 million years ago. Each period of uplift caused stream erosion, which cut more deeply into the plateau surface. Heathcote Creek cascades down a number of rock pools and small waterfalls to the Woronora River at the northern end of the park.

Flora

The ridges and drier slopes are covered in forest dominated by angophoras and eucalypts such as bloodwood, greygum, Sydney peppermint, and scribbly gum. Grass-trees are common. Low heath growth consists of shrubs, including ti trees, banksias, hakeas, and waxflowers. Gymea lilies and forest oaks grow on the moister slopes. Blackbutts and grevilleas grow in the Heathcote Creek Valley.[4]

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