Place and space
The Kimberley region located in Western Australia's far north, is a massive area of 423,517 square kms (three times the size of Tasmania). The Kimberley has a large range of waterfalls, gorges, beaches and rugged outback. Although it is a remote area, it is growing in popularity for tourists.
The dreamtime stories
The dreamtime story
The boab tree features in rock art and also dreamtime stories, where it was regarded as being too proud and arrogant and was punished by being re-planted upside-down with its roots stuck in the air. Interestingly, the African Baobab is also known as the “upside-down tree”.
The ancient aborigines used this tree for medicine, the younger leaves contained high vitamin C and calcium content, the bark is used to treat fevers as it contains properties similar to quinine (used to treat malaria).
Despite a lot of the natural wonders, there is much of the Kimberley flora and fauna which remains unexplored and little understood. The Kimberley is home to thousands of plant and animal species, many of them are endangered and now highly protected. The land of the central Kimberley supports a variety of trees, plants and grasses, the Kimberley also contains of woodlands and open forests and desert areas.
The fauna on the other hand is very different. In the Kimberley there is a lot of animals and they vary from stray pigs, to cattle, these are not native to this region and have been introduced. Some of the animals that are native to the Kimberley are, Dingos, Crocodiles, Kangaroos/Bilbies, Wallabies, Bandicoots, Quolls, Echidnas, Goannas, Lizards, Frogs, Snakes and lots of Birds from Jabirus to Cockatoos.
The Kimberley climate is broken up into two seasons. The wet season and the dry season. The Kimberley is located north of the Tropic of Capricorn, so the climate in the Kimberley is a tropical monsoon climate. You find this climate not only in Western Australia, but across all of Australia's North.
The Kimberley is universally recognised for its landscape, which includes gorges, waterfalls and cave systems and an astonishing variety of wildlife. Tourist attractions include the, Purnululu National Park, Mitchell River and Geikie Gorge national parks, Cable Beach, Lake Argyle and Cape Leveque.
The Kimberley tourism industry has some negative human impacts including, more roads, more mining, building hotels for the tourists, poverty on the local communities and many tourists are bringing in money, that doesn't necessarily help the aboriginal community in any way, but so far this hasn't had a big impact on the people of this area.
Sustainability in The Kimberley
In the Kimberley, sustaining the beautiful area is a very big problem as there's, rubbish, cane toads, bushfires, dieback disease, over fishing, pollution, threatened species, and even graffiti on the rock formations.
Cane Toads: introduced to Queensland in 1935, they have now made their way to the Kimberley and are a major environmental pest, significantly impacting on the ecosystems.
Dieback Disease: this disease kills susceptible plants, such as banksias, jarrah and grass trees, by attacking their root systems.
Besides the proposed gas hub at James Price Point, mines as diverse as iron ore, argyle diamonds, coal, oil, bauxite and uranium are all working. They are posing a major threat to the Kimberley. The Kimberley is one of the world's last great wilderness areas, but it's currently covered in more than 700 mining digs, this has a massive impact on the environment because the mines have pollution.
Pearls are formed when a pearl oyster coats any hard particle entering it with layers of nacre (mother-of-pearl). Pearling in Western Australia existed well before European settlement, pearls in Western Australia made about $67 million in 2014, it is the second most valuable fishing industry to the State after rock lobster. Indigenous Australians wore and traded the shells and pearls for thousands of years. By the early 1900s the Kimberley was supplying 80% of the pearl industry.
Aboriginal, Chinese and Japanese people were used as cheap labor to dive down deep for the pearls which usually resulted in death at a young age.
In the future due to climate change, I think the Kimberley could possibly just be desert, because of the constant heat and erosion of the sandstone rocks, they will crack and eventually fall away. I also think that it will dry up the water ways and beaches. The Kimberley could stay the same for a long time yet. I hope so.