Barrington Tops National Park

Coordinates: 32°3′10″S 151°29′37″E / 32.05278°S 151.49361°E / -32.05278; 151.49361
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Barrington Tops National Park
New South Wales
The view from Captain Thunderbolt's lookout over Barrington Tops
Barrington Tops National Park is located in New South Wales
Barrington Tops National Park
Barrington Tops National Park
Nearest town or cityGloucester
Coordinates32°3′10″S 151°29′37″E / 32.05278°S 151.49361°E / -32.05278; 151.49361
Established3 December 1969 (1969-12-03)[1]
Area765.12 km2 (295.4 sq mi)[1]
Managing authoritiesNSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
WebsiteBarrington Tops National Park
See alsoProtected areas of
New South Wales

The Barrington Tops National Park is a protected national park in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Australia. Gazetted in 1969, the 76,512-hectare (189,070-acre) park is situated between Scone, Singleton, Dungog, Gloucester and East Gresford.

The park is part of the Barrington Tops group World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986[2] and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007.[3]

It is also part of the Barrington Tops and Gloucester Tops Important Bird Area.[4]



Barrington Tops is part of the Mount Royal Range, a spur of the Great Dividing Range. Barrington Tops is a plateau between two of the large peaks in the range. The park is believed to be an extinct volcano and the mountain ranges are made up of a mixture of sedimentary rocks with a granite top. Erosion has weathered the granite and rounded granite boulders can be seen in some areas of the park. Estimates put the age of the rock at 300 to 400 million years, well before Australia separated from Gondwana.


The Barrington River.

The climate varies from temperate on the lower altitudes to subalpine at highest elevations. A record low of −17 °C (1 °F) has been registered at 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above mean sea level.[5] Rainfalls fluctuate between 750 millimetres (30 in) in the northwest to more than 2,000 mm (79 in) in the southeast.[6]


The ecology of the national park varies from subtropical rainforests in the gullies to subalpine and alpine regions on the mountain peaks. Snow usually falls on the mountain peaks every year and occasionally snows enough to close roads. Rainfall can exceed 1,500 mm (59 in) per annum.

A large variety of plants and animals reside in the park and the steepness of the terrain ensures that they are not disturbed by humans. Plant life includes a large variety of eucalypt trees including Snow Gums, subtropical and temperate rainforest trees like Antarctic beech, tree ferns, a large variety of mosses and ferns and a wide range of edible plants such as the native raspberry, the native cherry and the lilli pilli.


An echidna on a walking trail

The remoteness and inaccessibility of a large part of the park has allowed some of the more sensitive animals to remain largely undisturbed. A large number of fauna have been catalogued in the park. Some of the more common animals include: barking and sooty owls, eastern grey kangaroos, frogs, pademelons, cockatoos, rosellas, kookaburras, bats and echidnas. It supports a globally important population of rufous scrub-birds, as well as flame robins, pale-yellow robins, paradise riflebirds, green catbirds, regent bowerbirds and Australian logrunners.[4]

Animals such as quolls, native rodents and platypus are reclusive, but may be seen. Not all of the animals in the park are desirable; introduced species such as feral horses, deer, feral pigs, feral goats, foxes, and feral cats are planned to be removed.[7]


The traditional owners of the area are Aboriginal Australian peoples, including the Gringai people (southern valleys), the Wonnarua people (western country), and the Worimi and Birpai people (the eastern side).[8]

National Park and World Heritage Area[edit]

In 1969 the area between Mount Barrington, Mount Royal and the Gloucester Tops was declared the Barrington Tops National Park. In 1986 it was listed as a World Heritage Area and subsequently a Wilderness Area. Some of the rivers flowing through the Barrington range have been classed as wild rivers meaning they are exceptionally pure and unpolluted. The highest peak is Brumlow Top which rises to a height of 1,586 metres (5,203 ft).

Aircraft crashes[edit]

A number of aircraft have crashed in and around the Barrington Tops, Aeroplane Hill being named after one of the crashes.[9] The altitude, frequent fog & cloud, storms and cold weather (causing icing) make this area potentially hazardous to aircraft. One article refers to the "Devil's Triangle".

Barrington Guest House[edit]

The Barrington River

The Barrington Guest House was built from 1925 on the upper Williams River near Barrington Tops by Norman T. McLeod, licensee of the Royal Hotel in Dungog, using timber cut and milled from the property. It stood on land consisting of 10.5 hectares (26 acres) of forest surrounded by National and State Parks and was officially opened in 1930 by Leader of the Country Party Earle Page. During the opening there was some 200 guests that attended.[25]

The guest house was a popular venue for people to stay in the park, until it burned down in a fire at 11pm on 24 September 2006 due to an electrical fault.[26] The fire was not regarded as suspicious.[27] It was undergoing modernisation under new ownership at the time of the fire. There are plans to rebuild, but no significant process has been made, and only part of the old chimney remains on the site. [28] The guest house has undergone many different owners in its history; Mattara Investments that traded as Barrington Guest House and bought the premises in 1976. Due to business troubles however, it was then placed into voluntary administration in 2000, after which the business was than taken over by David and Susan Eissa in February 2002.[29] Only one more owner has been known since (according to the now defunct website); Purchased in January 2004 by Natalie Day and Tony Horley. [30]


Barrington Tops is a popular weekend destination from Sydney and Newcastle. Numerous walking trails and camping grounds are scattered throughout the park. The park also contains well marked and well-maintained gravel roads as well as specific 4WD tracks into less travelled areas. General sightseeing can be accomplished in a non-offroad vehicle. As well as camping facilities, the nearby towns of Gloucester and Dungog have many places to stay. The park is maintained by the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service and rangers patrol the park daily.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Barrington Tops National Park". Office of Environment & Heritage. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Gondwana Rainforests of Australia". Department of the Environment. Australian Government. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, Lismore, NSW, Australia". Australian Heritage Database: Department of the Environment. Australian Government. 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  4. ^ a b "IBA: Barrington Tops & Gloucester Tops". Birdata. Birds Australia. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  5. ^ Zoete, Toivo (2000). "Vegetation survey of the Barrington Tops and Mount Royal National Parks for use in fire management". Cunninghamia. 6 (3): 511–578.
  6. ^ Dodson, J R; Myers, C A (1986). "Vegetation and Modern Pollen Rain From the Barrington Tops and Upper Hunter River Regions of New South Wales". Australian Journal of Botany. 34 (3): 293–304. doi:10.1071/BT9860293. INIST 8125112.
  7. ^ Thompson, Frances; Sharpe, Donna (29 December 2011). "Ferals under fire in Barrington Tops". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Aboriginal associations with the park area". Barrington Tops National Park. NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  9. ^ "Interesting facts about Barrington Tops". Gloucester Advocate. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Military Aircraft Crashes in NSW during WW2 years". Peter Dunn's Australia at War. Archived from the original on 10 December 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  11. ^ "RAAF A52 De Havilland DH-98 Mosquito". ADF Aircraft Serial Numbers. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  12. ^ Smith, Tim. "Plane Sailing: The archaeology of aircraft losses over water in New South Wales, Australia" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  13. ^ "Barrington Tops, NSW: Aircraft Crash". Emergency Management Australia National Disasters Database. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2007.
  14. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident description Douglas C-47A-50-DL VH-ANK – Quirindi, NSW". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 10 January 2007.
  15. ^ "VH-ANK". Ed Coates' Civil Aircraft Photograph Collection. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  16. ^ Wilson, David (January 2005). Brotherhood of Airmen: The Men and Women of the RAAF in Action, 1914-Today. ISBN 9781741151756. Retrieved 28 June 2008.
  17. ^ a b "Off the radar". Sydney Morning Herald. 29 March 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2007.
  18. ^ "Mirage IIO/D". ADF Serials. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  19. ^ "Crash of a Lockheed Hudson foothills of Barrington Ranges, NSW on 14 September 1954". Peter Dunn's Australia at War. Archived from the original on 22 February 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  20. ^ "VH-SML". The Lockheed File. Archived from the original on 17 May 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  21. ^ "Barrington Tops, NSW: Light Aircraft Crash in Storm". Emergency Management Australia National Disasters Database. Retrieved 10 January 2007.[permanent dead link] (password protected Australian Government site)
  22. ^ Crawley, CMDR John, RAN (Rtd). "A Chronological History of Ejections from ADF Aircraft" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 October 2005. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  23. ^ "Aermacchi MB326". Clyde North Aeronautical Preservation Group. Archived from the original on 6 May 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  24. ^ "Chronological Listing of Australian RAAF & RAN Ejections". Project Get Out and Walk. Archived from the original on 18 February 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  25. ^ Hartley, Dulcie (1993). Barrington Tops: a vision splendid. D. Hartley. ISBN 978-0-646-15795-5. OCLC 38342669.[page needed]
  26. ^ "Fire destroys historic guesthouse". The Australian. 25 September 2006. Archived from the original on 15 December 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  27. ^ "NSW: Barrington Guest House Destroyed by Fire". AAP General News Wire. 25 September 2006. ProQuest 448958194.
  28. ^ "Guest house to be replaced with building of similar character". 29 July 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  29. ^ Scanlon, Mike (11 January 2003). "SNAP SHOT Barrington Guest House". Herald. p. 27. ProQuest 364744038.
  30. ^ "Our History". 21 August 2006. Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 23 April 2021.

External links[edit]