Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve
Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve is a protected area 35 kilometres (22 mi) east of Albany, Western Australia. The area is accessible by 2WD vehicles. The bay itself, including two small secluded beaches, faces due east and is protected from the Southern Ocean by a headland formed by the granite massif of Mount Gardiner. The nature reserve was established in 1967 to protect the threatened noisy scrub-bird and its habitat.
The name "Two Peoples Bay" is from an incident in 1803 when an American whaling ship used the sheltered waters to lay anchor at the same time as a French vessel that was exploring the coastline east of Albany.
A bush fire broke out on private land near the reserve on 12 October 2012 and a team of about 20 fire-fighters arrived to combat the blaze. Following a sudden change in wind direction a track carrying two of the fire crew was engulfed in flames. The two firefighters, both female, received terrible burns. One, 45 years old, received burns to 60% of her body and was admitted to hospital in critical condition; the other, 24 years old, had burns to 40% of her body and was also critical. Both were transferred from Albany via the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Perth. Three other fire crew were injured, a second truck was burnt out and over 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of bushland were burnt before the fire was contained later the same day. The older woman, Wendy Bearfoot, died in Royal Perth Hospital on 1 November as a result of her injuries. WorkSafe launched an investigation into the circumstances.
In late 2015 a fire burnt through 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres) of the reserve destroying an estimated 90% of the Gilbert's potoroo habitat.
Two Peoples Bay boasts unspoilt coastal scenery and is a vital area for threatened animal species. There are beaches with path access that are suitable for swimming and snorkelling. Facilities within the reserve include a boat ramp, toilets and barbecues. However, there is no drinking water available and visitors need to take their own. There is no entry fee for the reserve.
Flora and fauna
The vegetation that is found in the park can be classified as follows: low forest is found north of Moates Lake, the wetland margins and close to the reserve offices. The trees reach 15 m in height and are dominated by Eucalyptus species including coast gum, jarrah and yate as well as other species such as marri and juniper myrtle.
The understorey of the low forest includes species such as swamp banksia, pea-flowered narrow-leaved water bush and the porungurup wattle. Low woodlands in the broad valleys north of Moates Lake mainly consist of Albany blackbutt and the area between Moates Lake and Gardiner Lake is mostly populated with swamp banksia. Dieback has eradicated a population of the threatened granite banksia.
Two Peoples Bay is home to Australia's most threatened mammal and one of the rarest animals in the world, the Gilbert's potoroo (Potorous gilbertii). This potoroo was thought to be extinct until the population at Two Peoples Bay was discovered in 1994. It is estimated that there are fewer than 40 individuals left in the wild. Other threatened mammals in the area include the southern brown bandicoot, western ringtail possum, Australian sea lion and the New Zealand fur seal. Quokkas are also known to inhabit the park and Two Peoples Bay is though to be near the eastern limit of their range. Several reptiles can be found in the park including little brown snake, carpet python, beautiful skink and mournful skink.
The reserve forms part of the Two Peoples Bay and Mount Manypeaks Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its significance in the conservation of several rare and threatened bird species. It supports a population of noisy scrub-birds, a species that was thought to be extinct until rediscovered in 1961. The population then was estimated at less than 100, while in 1994 it was thought to be around 1100 (of which 450 occur in the reserve). Other threatened birds inhabiting the reserve are the western ground parrot, western bristlebird, western whipbird and Australasian bittern. Other threatened bird species that have been observed within the park include short-billed black cockatoo, peregrine falcon, hooded plover, little bittern and red-eared firetail. Seabirds nesting on the islands around the bay include the great-winged petrel and flesh-footed shearwater.
The total area enclosed by the nature reserve is 4,744.7 hectares (11,724 acres). It consists of three separate areas:
- A section of 4,510 hectares (11,144 acres) that contains Mount Gardner, Lake Gardner, Moates Lake, rocky shoreline of Sinkers Reef, granite headlands, secluded sandy beaches such as Little Beach and Waterfall Beach and mobile dunes
- A smaller section of 89 hectares (220 acres) that is about 2 kilometres (1 mi) north of the main area that includes the northern portion of Angove lake and the Angove River
- Four islands - Coffin Island, Black Rock, Inner Island and Rock Dunder
- "Australian Traveller - One Bay Two Peoples". 2005. Retrieved 2007-05-15.
- "Albany bushfire investigation imminent". News Limited. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Firefighter still critical after bushfire burns". News Limited. 14 October 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Two firefighters badly injured in Albany bushfire". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 October 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "WA firefighters suffer burns in plantation blaze". WA Today (Fairfax Media). 13 October 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Firefighter Wendy Bearfoot, 45, dies in Royal Perth after Albany blaze". Herald Sun (News Limited). 13 October 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Two Peoples Bay fire". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- "Park Finder - Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve". 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2007.
- "Coordinated Conservation Plan - Two Peoples Bay - Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources" (PDF). 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
- Kelly, Anne E.; Coates, David (1995). Population dynamics, reproductive biology and conservation of Banksia brownii and Banksia verticillata. ANCA ESP Project No. 352. Como, Western Australia: Department of Environment and Conservation, Government of Western Australia.
- "Gilberts Potoroo Factsheet (WWF)" (PDF). 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
- BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Two Peoples Bay and Mount Manypeaks. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 2011-11-18.
- "Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve Management Plan 1995-2005" (PDF). 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
- "Coordinated Conservation Plan - Two Peoples Bay - Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources" (PDF). 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
- "Proposed Amendment to Two Peoples Bay Management Plan" (PDF). 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2007.