Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park

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Black Mountain (Kalkajaka)
National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
091209 Kalkajaka01.jpg
View of one of the black mountains from Mulligan Highway
Nearest town or city Cooktown
Coordinates 15°40′05″S 145°13′55″E / 15.66806°S 145.23194°E / -15.66806; 145.23194
Area 781 hectares (1,930 acres)
Established 1980 (Register of the National Estate)
Managing authorities Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
Official site Black Mountain National Park

Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park is a 781 hectare [1]protected area in the Queensland, (Australia), 25 km south west of Cooktown. It is managed and protected as a national park under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

The main feature of the park is the mass of granite boulders, some the size of houses. The absence of soil between the boulders and rocks create a maze of gaps and passages, which can be used to penetrate inside the mountain.[2] These rocks can become extremely hot.

The area has a bad reputation as numerous people and those searching for the missing have disappeared without trace. The Mulligan Highway marks the western border of the park.

Natural history[edit]

The national park's distinctive hard granite boulders and range originally formed out of magma that first slowly solidified under the Earth's crust about 250 million years ago.[3]

The softer land surfaces above the solidified magma eroded away over time, leaving the magma's fractured top to be exposed as a mountain of grey granite boulders blackened by a film of microscopic blue-green algae growing on the exposed surfaces. Colder rains falling on the dark, heated granite boulders causes the boulders to progressively fracture, break, and slowly disintegrate, sometimes explosively.[3]

Cultural history[edit]

The National Park's "Black Mountains" are a heavily significant feature of the Kuku Nyungkal people's cultural landscape known locally to Aboriginal Australians as Kalkajaka (trans: "place of spear").

Queensland's Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been advised of at least four sites of particular mythological significance within the "Black Mountains" as follows:[3]

There are at least four sites of religious or mythological significance on the mountain. These are the Kambi, a large rock with a cave where flying-foxes are found; Julbanu, a big grey kangaroo-shaped rock looking toward Cooktown; Birmba, a stone facing toward Helenvale where sulphur-crested cockatoos are seen; and a taboo place called Yirrmbal near the foot of the range.

The Black Mountains also features strongly in local, more non-Aboriginal cultural landscapes, some of which has also been described by Queensland's Department of Environment and Resource Management as follows:[3]

When European colonists arrived late last century, they added to the many Aboriginal legends of the area with a few of their own. Stories abound of people, horses and whole mobs of cattle disappearing into the labyrinth of rocks, never to be seen again

It is believed that those who vanished most probably fell into one of the chasms under the rocks or after entering one of these places became lost.[2]

Ecology[edit]

The Black Mountains are located at the northernmost end of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, where world heritage listed wet tropical forests meet drier savanna woodlands - making it a natural refuge for once more widespread, now isolated relict fauna.

Queensland's Department of Environment and Resource Management advises, for instance, the relatively small, unusual "Black Mountain" environment is the world's only habitat for at least three animals: the Black Mountain boulderfrog or rock haunting frog (Cophixalus saxatilis); the Black Mountain skink (Carlia scirtetis); and the Black Mountain gecko (Nactus galgajuga). This makes the area one of Australia's most restricted habitats for endemic fauna.[3]

Depiction by History Channel[edit]

The discussion of mysterious features of the Black Mountain featured in an episode of the Ancient Aliens television series on the History Channel. The series claimed that the hills of the Kalkajaka could have been formed by ancient astronauts who piled the huge boulders to cover up a massive mining operation, or, alternatively, that the boulders were debris formed as a result of the mining operation.

Facilities[edit]

Camping is not permitted in the park. There are no walking tracks and no facilities for picnics.[4] There is a viewing platform that features interpretive displays.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Black Mountain National Park. Register of the National Estate.
  2. ^ a b c Shilton, Peter (2005). Natural Areas of Queensland. Mount Gravatt, Queensland: Goldpress. pp. 11–13. ISBN 0-9758275-0-2. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park: Nature, culture and history". Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park: About Black Mountain". Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 15°40′05″S 145°13′55″E / 15.66806°S 145.23194°E / -15.66806; 145.23194