Mitchell River National Park

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The Mitchell River National Park is a national park in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. It is approximately 300 km east of Melbourne by the most direct road route, and about 40 km north of Bairnsdale.

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Mitchell River

The park's central feature is the Mitchell River. The Mitchell River is the largest unregulated river in Victoria and provides a unique example of riparian ecology.

According to the Land Conservation Council Rivers & Streams Special Investigation 1990, "It is an important example of the large-scale biological systems that were once widespread in south-eastern Australia."[1] The Mitchell River was listed as a Heritage River in 1992.

The Park

The National Park surrounds the spectacular Mitchell River where it has cut its way through rock strata creating high cliffs and several gorges.

The park originated as the Glenaladale National Park in 1963 following a donation of 1.63 km² of land from Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd. An addition of 118 km² was made in 1986 at which time the name was changed to the Mitchell River National Park. The park was further extended in 2003 by 23.75 km² to bring the total area to 143.38 km².[2]

In some of the gorges are found remnants of warm-temperate rainforest, the southernmost occurrence of this type of forest in the world. It can survive here as the steep walls of the gorges protect it from the annual drying summer winds and the bushfires that occasionally rage through the area.

There are recorded sightings of more than 150 bird species and 25 mammal species in the park. Vegetation in the park includes papery-barked kanooka trees, lilly-pillys, muttonwoods, ferns, mosses, vines, and lianas. In the drier areas, typical Australian species such as wattle and eucalypt dominate.[3]

The Mitchell River was an important location to the Gunai/Kurnai nation, especially the Brabuwooloong and the Brayakuloong people of central Gippsland. One of the features of the park is the Den of Nargun mentioned in Aboriginal Legends.

Gold was discovered in the area in 1857. Alluvial fields along the Mitchell River and its tributaries were worked into the early twentieth century, while there was also some reef mining from the 1860s. Later use by Europeans mainly involved timber and farming.

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