North Head Sanctuary Foundation
is working with Government agencies
towards the establishment of
Car-rang-gel Sanctuary
on North Head
at the gateway of Sydney Harbour
- a flagship for Australia's
environmental resolve
and a celebration of
our natural and cultural heritage.
Car-rang-gel Sanctuary on North Head, Sydney
Aboriginal Heritage
Built Heritage
Research Volunteering

Natural Heritage Management Statement

This Natural Heritage Statement forms part of suite of complementary strategic plans; Indigenous, immigrant, geophysical, educational etc which have been developed to achieve the Vision of the North Head Sanctuary Foundation. The aim is to "save what we have got, and protect and restore what we can" of North Head's native biodiversity.

Drosera spathulata
Banksia marginata
Acacia suaveolens
Boronia ledifolia
Acacia longifolia
Woollsia pungens
Banksia ericifolia

Natural Heritage has been chosen as the title because the plan aims to manage the native biodiversity of North Head using an integrated, multi-species approach. The strategy seeks to embrace vertebrates and invertebrates, plants and plant communities and the surrounding marine environment. This said, the plan recognises the special role of the populations of little penguins, weedy seadragons and long-nosed bandicoots as the icons of, and impetus for, the Car-rang-gel Sanctuary on North Head. The plan does not value all living things at North Head. Weeds and introduced animals are candidates for control or removal.

Restoration has been specifically addressed because the natural heritage vision sees the environment of North Head 'better' than it is today. The plan thus goes beyond simply preserving what has survived because of North Head's unique history. Restoration candidates would include any appropriate (see objectives) plant or animal once native to North Head, that has the potential to establish populations or communities that are sustainable, such as,
           click here to read about the re-introduction of brown antichinus to North Head or
           click here to read about re-introduction of pygmy possum

pygmy possum
Re-introducing pyrmy possum

Endangered Acacia terminalis ssp terminalis

Minimisation of human impacts will be an integral part of biodiversity management. It is implicit is that people will be highly controlled through a system of stratified levels of access.

These could range from high access (eg. education centre with museum or live animal displays), moderate access (eg. bandicoot and penguin viewing decks to accommodate reasonably large groups) to pedestrian access only areas (eg. bush walk type experience on elevated board walks).

Biodiversity management at North Head should be experimentally based using adaptive management principles with due regard to existing threatened, endangered or rare species.

Development and implementation of a detailed management plan will require diverse expert inputs (eg plant ecology, population biology, pest management, etc). Cost effective research and technical expertise can be expected to come from universities, and organisations like the Australian Museum, and associated research students. In addition to this professional input there will be a critical need for involvement of community expertise particularly in monitoring management outcomes (eg ornithologists, and special interest groups developed from the North Head community).

Natural Heritage Vision
The natural heritage of North Head conserved, restored and secure.

Natural Heritage Mission
The maintenance, recovery and reintroduction of native species in their natural habitats, communities and environments on North Head by:

  • Working with land managers, stakeholders and the community in the planning and implementing of biodiversity management based on adaptive management principles.
  • Fostering research on North Head biodiversity and its conservation management.
  • Marshalling and coordinating human and financial resources.

Long-nosed bandicoot

Natural Heritage Objectives

To Establish:
  • The plant and animal assemblages of North Head before recent disruption and to what extent were these due to Aboriginal practices.
  • The critical boundary (or boundaries) to North Head (including marine areas) and effective means to protect them (eg fences, baiting, education etc).
  • The technical limits to sustainable biodiversity conservation and restoration on North Head.

To Identify:

  • What will be the ongoing management needs of existing, or restored populations or communities, set by the above constraints. In particular, to identify and establish suitable areas as protected habitats for the little penguin and long-nosed bandicoot.
  • Ways to effectively manage the Sanctuary-Urban interface. This is both to protect the sanctuary and extend is biodiversity benefits into urbanised Manly.
  • The threats posed by introduced predators (eg fox compared with cats and domestic dogs) and competitors (eg. weeds, non-native rodents).

Short-Beaked Echidna, or Spiny Anteater
Tachyglossus aculeatus

To Coordinate:

  • Development and implementation of a detailed operational management plans drawing on diverse expert inputs (eg plant ecology, population biology, pest management, etc).
  • Research and technical expertise from universities, and organisations like the Australian Museum, and associated research students.
  • Community expertise particularly in monitoring management outcomes (eg ornithologists, and other special interest groups)
This Biodiversity Management Plan was prepared in 2002
by the NHSF Biodiversity Management working group.

Comments about the Geology of North Head

The early dedication of North Head by the New South Wales and Commonwealth governments for quarantine and military uses, and the establishment of park reserves, has resulted in the survival of many of the headland's geological features, flora and fauna in a landscape with rich cultural associations, both Aboriginal and more recent.

North Head is a striking cliff-bound tied island complex formed by the interaction of strong bedrock and erosion associated with changes in sea level rise and topography. Surrounded by spectacular sea cliffs up to 90 metres high, and flooded river valleys (rias), the morphology and principal characteristics of the rias can be viewed from lookouts on the south side of Scenic Drive and from the Quarantine Station. North Head also provides a highly accessible opportunity to view an array of sedimentary depositional features associated with Hawkesbury Sandstone and the Newport Formation, including crossbeds both normal and overturned, flaser bedding, shrinkage cracks, burrows and ball and pillow deposits. The three lithofacies of the Hawkesbury Sandstone - sheet sandstone, massive sandstone and mudstone can all be recognised at North Head.

Aboriginal Heritage
Built Heritage
Research Volunteering
North Head Sanctuary Foundation, P.O.Box 506, Balgowlah, NSW 2093


This page was coded for the North Head Sanctuary Foundation by Judith Bennett.
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