Interesting facts about Barrington Tops

A stone heart in a clearing in the forest at Blue Gum Loop Trail in Barrington Tops National Park. Photo courtesy of National Parks and Wildlife Service
A stone heart in a clearing in the forest at Blue Gum Loop Trail in Barrington Tops National Park. Photo courtesy of National Parks and Wildlife Service

As part of the 50th anniversary of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) celebrated in 2017, NPWS shared a few interesting facts about Barrington Tops.

Did you know?

 * There are 25 named rivers and major creeks that have their headwaters in the Barrington Tops National Park including the Hunter, Manning and Karuah rivers and their tributaries. National parks play a vital role in preserving catchments for healthy rivers and clean water supply.

*  Cores taken from the Barrington Tops peat swamps contain the complete pollen record of the area’s vegetation dating back to the last ice age. These cores are evidence of past changes in climate and vegetation over 10,000 years.

*  The subalpine wetlands of the Barrington Tops - known as montane peatlands and swamps - are part of an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) listed under the NSW Threatened Species Act.

*  Parts of the Barrington Tops receive up to 2200mm average annual rainfall which is double the rainfall of surrounding areas. This is caused by the ‘orographic’ effect of the high escarpment intercepting coastal moisture-laden air.

 *  Barrington Tops is home to one of the state’s most significant populations of the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby at Woko and Curracabundi national parks and Mernot Nature Reserve.

*  Barrington Tops is the site of Australia’s only unrecovered civilian aircraft disaster. The Cessna VH-MDX and the five men on-board have been missing since 1981. The area is sometimes referred to as Australia’s ‘Bermuda triangle’ due to the 11 aircraft that have crashed in the region. Aeroplane Hill near the Junction Pools camping area is named after one of these crashes. RAAF planes to crash in the tops include Mosquito and Mirage fighter-bombers. 

*  Bushrangers have long called Barrington Tops home. The most recent was Malcom Naden who was captured at Gloucester Tops in 2012. There are uncanny parallels between Naden’s criminal history and those of Jimmy Governor who escaped into Barrington Tops in 1900. Governors Lookout on the Corker Track in Barrington Tops National Park is named after Governor. The park also has a Thunderbolts Trail and Thunderbolts Lookout both named after bushranger Fred Ward who was known as ‘Captain Thunderbolt’.

*  Barrington Tops National Park supports a huge variety of wildlife species including more than 50 mammals, 278 birds, 42 reptiles and 18 frog species. There are many hundreds of insect and other invertebrate species including several rare species found only in the park. These include a butterfly, three spiders, three velvet worms and a small crustacean which has only ever been found in a Barrington Tops swamp.

*  The Barrington Tops National Park has an altitude range of 1416 metres rising from 170 metres above sea level on the edges of Chichester Dam up to 1586m on the highest local peak, Brumlow Top. This is the state’s highest point outside of Kosciusko National Park. The plateau is generally up to 10 degrees cooler than surrounding areas.

*  The coldest recorded temperature on Barrington Tops is minus 17 degrees celsius recorded at 1500m above sea level. Snow falls can occur most years but are intermittent. It has snowed on Barrington Tops in November and February and also down to 300m above sea level.