Landscapes of the Kimberley
The Mitchell Plateau
“My husband and I camped at the Mitchell Falls a few years ago and were struck by its spiritual beauty. While exploring up-river from the falls we were lucky to observe a Northern Quoll and viewed wonderful rock art. I think it is wonderful that the Mitchell Plateau has not experienced any mammal extinctions since European arrival and we should be proud to advertise this fact to the world. The state government and Rio Tinto's decision now means this can be maintained.” Kathie Drake, Kimberley supporter, Fremantle, WA.
The Mitchell Plateau is a place where native wildlife remains abundant and spectacular scenery and rare plants dominate the landscape. The Livistona Palms that form a vast forest on the Mitchell Plateau live for up to 280 years and grow to 25 metres tall. These palms are only found in the Kimberley and grow on the Mitchell Plateau, alongside 50 mammal species, 220 bird species and 86 species of reptiles and amphibians.
The Mitchell Plateau and Mitchell Falls are famous with tourists, and saw their future secured in March 2015 when Rio Tinto and the WA Government announced the company would relinquish its claims to mine bauxite on the Plateau. The 150,000 hectares covered by the Mitchell Plateau State Agreement were protected by a special Act of Parliament.
A much bigger area of around two million hectares was temporarily protected from mining under special provisions in the Mining Act to allow for the creation of the Kimberley National Park. Part of this area is now covered by the new Wilinggin National Park, but the rest will be unprotected in March 2017 when the temporary ban ends. A renewed commitment to protecting the area in partnership with Traditional Owners will be needed to stop mining companies once again staking a claim to this so far unspoilt landscape. You can help by sending a message to our leaders, asking them to complete the protection of the Kimberley.