McIlwraith Range

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The range is an important area for Southern Cassowaries

The McIlwraith Range is a rugged, dissected granite plateau on the Cape York Peninsula, Far North Queensland, Australia. Part of the Great Dividing Range, it covers about 3000 km2 and lies about 15 km east of the town of Coen, and 550 km north of Cairns. The Archer River rises in the range. Most of the range is about 450 m above sea level and reaches its highest elevation at 824 m, just north-east of Coen. The range receives high annual rainfall of about 1500 mm.


The McIlwraith Range has been protected since its gazettal as the Kulla (McIlwraith Range) National Park. It is also listed on Australia’s Register of the National Estate. It was named after Sir Thomas McIlwraith (1835–1900), three time Premier of Queensland 1879-1883, 1888, and 1893.

With most of the range being about 450 m asl, and with a high point of 824 m, it is largely vegetated with a variety of rainforest types, forming the southernmost limit of the ranges of many plants and animals characteristic of New Guinea. These include the spotted cuscus, green tree python and palm cockatoo.[1][2] An endemic species is the McIlwraith leaf-tailed gecko (Orraya occultus).


The range is part of the 6205 km2 McIlwraith and Iron Ranges Important Bird Area (IBA), identified as such by BirdLife International because it is one of the few known sites for the endangered buff-breasted buttonquail. The IBA also supports an isolated population of southern cassowaries as well as populations of lovely fairywrens, silver-crowned friarbirds, yellow, yellow-spotted, white-streaked and banded honeyeaters, and white-browed robins.[3]


Coordinates: 13°45′S 143°20′E / 13.750°S 143.333°E / -13.750; 143.333