#PlacesOfNRM – Ninghan Indigenous Protected Area

The Ninghan Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is located in the eastern rangelands country of the NACC NRM region. It takes its name from nyingarn – the Noongar word for echidna – in reference to the gently sloping form of Mount Singleton, which rises 678 metres from the surrounding plains and can be seen for miles around.

The IPA covers an area of approximately 48,000 hectares within a larger pastoral station which sits on the Great Northern Highway, 350 kilometres from Perth. The former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission purchased the property’s lease for the Pindiddy Aboriginal Corporation in 1993. It was declared an IPA in October 2006

Sitting at the junction of four bioregions, the IPA marks the transition from remnant eucalypt woodlands to expansive mulga plains. The rolling Ninghan Ridge landscape embraces a system of smaller hills, with the verdant green ribbons of natural drainage courses leading to creamy yellow sandplains, and salt lake margins bounded with shrublands.

The Ninghan area served as a traditional meeting place for the Badimaya (Yamaji), Noongar, and Wongai peoples, with the locals trading a range of products such as balga gum for spearheads and ochre from outlying country. One of the IPA’s significant cultural sites, Warrdagga Rock, is a huge granite dome featuring rock pools with semi-permanent water, and plants that flourish in the Rock’s run-off.

Three generations of the local Bell family are caring for Ninghan and using their traditional knowledge to manage the land. They have reduced sheep numbers on the property from 18,000 in 1993 to around 2,300 a decade later, and the environmental benefits of reducing pressure on the land are now being seen in landscape regeneration and erosion reduction.

The Ninghan IPA forms part of a larger area managed for conservation purposes, with adjacent properties at Mount Gibson (managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy), the Charles Darwin/White Wells Reserve (managed by Bush Heritage Australia), and the Karara Rangeland Park (managed by the WA Parks and Wildlife Service) boding well for long-term environmental stewardship in the region.

More information can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/indigenous/publications/pubs/fs-ninghan.pdf

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