Mount Willoughby Indigenous Protected Area
South Australia | Declared in November 2002
The Mount Willoughby Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) was declared in November 2002. Its 380,000 hectares of striking arid land where the Stony Plains and Great Victoria Desert bioregions meet. The former pastoral property supports a remarkable collection of habitats, ranging from swamps and grassland to cracking clay pans, spectacular breakaway ranges and vivid red dune country.
Traditional Owners and IPA Project Administrator on site, both images by Ivan Haskovec.
Located on the Stuart Highway about 150 kilometres north of Coober Pedy, Mount Willoughby was purchased in 1996 by the Indigenous Land Corporation on behalf of the Tjyrilia Aboriginal Corporation, a small family-based company.
With the state-managed Tallaringa Conservation Park bordering the IPA, the Tjyrilia Aboriginal Corporation undertakes biodiversity conservation and land management practices that complement park strategies. IPA activities include habitat protection, control of weeds and feral animals like wild cattle, foxes, camels and rabbits, and campsite and road infrastructure maintenance.
The Mount Willoughby environment sustains numerous animal and plant species, including many which are very rare and several listed as endangered. An example is the Erigeron sessilifolius, a desert daisy not found in South Australia since 1927. The plant was rediscovered on the IPA during a recent biological survey.
IPA funding is protecting important cultural heritage sites including waterholes, rock pools and bush tucker sources, as well as historic European settler structures like huts and brush yards. Traditional knowledge about land management and cultural ways is also being saved, through workshops with the Traditional Owners.
Mount Willoughby IPA is managed in line with the following International Union for Conservation of Nature categories:
- Category VI - Managed Resource Protected Area: Protected Area managed mainly for the sustainable use of natural ecosystems
- Category II - Protected Area managed mainly for ecosystem conservation and recreation.