The Gardens of Stone

nature’s wonderland on the frontline

Keith Muir, Wilderness advocate

Situated in the western Blue Mountains, the 30,000ha Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area is the heart of pagoda country and a wonderland of cultural and natural heritage. Unfortunately, its internationally rare pagoda landscapes overlie coal mines and now are slated for commercial tourism infrastructure development.  

In 2019 the Gardens of Stone Alliance of conservation groups published Destination Pagoda to promote how the Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area could become a major visitor attraction for Lithgow.  

Nature’s Gifts and Politicians

Dr Graeme L. Worboys AM is an Honorary Associate Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University. Bruce Gall is a former Director of the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service and is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas.   

This is the seventh article in an 8-part series discussing our nature’s gifts

One of the greatest threats to nature’s gifts is not climate change or habitat destruction but the actions of our politicians. Our future leaders are generally attracted to a political career for reasons other than saving the planet. But there have been outstanding exceptions; some remarkable Labor, Liberal, Greens and even National Party politicians have made visionary contributions to protecting our nature’s gifts. With no disrespect to others who battled heroically to have parks created, we pay tribute to some of our political champions. 

Nature Kids Autumn 2023

Record-breaking animals & our planet’s future 

Toads vs Frogs

A park ranger in Queensland recently came across “Toadzilla” – a 2.7kg cane toad that may be the largest cane toad ever recorded!
Cane toads are an invasive species native to Central & South America, but introduced to Australia to control destructive beetles in sugarcane crops.
The toads have now spread across NSW & other parts of Australia. They are a pest because the toads poison &/or eat native animals, as well as eating some foods relied on by native insectivores.
Originally Australia had no predators or diseases to control cane toad numbers. But now some native species, such as the white ibis bird & rakali water rat have learnt how to eat the toads without being poisoned!

Book Review: Different: What Apes Can Teach Us About Gender

Author: Frans de Waal

Published: 2022 WW Norton& Company (USA) and Granta Books (UK)

Reviewed by: Graham Kelly of the NPA’s Environmental Book Group 

Highly regarded primatologist Frans de Waal explores the biological and behavioural differences between the sexes in close living relatives of homo sapiens. It is based on decades of observations, primarily of chimpanzees and bonobos, and also including other primates and occasionally non-primates. DNA analysis indicates that great apes started evolving separately from monkeys about 30 million years ago (mya). Within great apes Orangutangs separated about 16mya, Gorillas 9mya, Humans 6mya, with the most recent separation between Chimpanzees and Bonobos 2mya.  

Vale Haydn Washington (1955-2022)

By Rodney Falconer, NPA Member

Haydn Grinling Washington was born on 12th September 1955 and died at 2 am on 10th December 2022. 

Haydn was a formidable and relentless fighter for the environment, for wilderness and for nature in general. He gave his life generously to many great causes. His charismatic and energetic leadership prompted many others to join in. Together we surfed the great wave of conservation, so successful in the days of the Wran government and for some years after. He helped significantly in the lasting protection of other wild areas including many wilderness areas, the rainforests, the south-east forests and the Gardens of Stone.