Barrington Tops National Park

Barrington Tops National Park

Barrington Tops is a World Heritage listed National Park in the Hunter Valley, approximately Convert|200|km|mi|0 north of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. The nearest towns are Scone, Gloucester and East Gresford.


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 have been an extinct volcano and the mountain ranges are comprised 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.

In 1969 the area between Mount Barrington, Mount Royal and the Gloucester Tops was declared the Barrington Tops National Park. In 1982 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 Convert|1586|m|ft|0.


The climate varies from temperate on the lower altitudes to subalpine at highest elevations. A record low of Convert|-17|°C|°F|0|lk=on has been registered at Convert|1500|m|ft|0|abbr=on above mean sea level. [.Zoete, T. (2000) Vegetation survey of the Barrington Tops and Mount Royal National Parks for use in fire management. Cunninghamia 6, 511-578.] Rainfalls fluctuate between Convert|750|mm|in|0 in the northwest to more than Convert|2000|mm|in|0|abbr=on in the southeast. [.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, 293-304.]


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 Convert|1500|mm|in|0|abbr=on 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.


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 including some that were previously thought to be extinct. Some of the more common animals sighted include: Barking and Sooty Owls, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, frogs, pademelons, cockatoos, rosellas, kookaburras, bats and Echidnas. Animals such as quolls, native rats and Platypus are a lot more reclusive but they may be seen. Not all of the animals in the park are desirable and feral animals such as feral horses and feral cats are being removed from the park.


Barrington Tops is a very 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 sight seeing can be easily achieved in a non-offroad vehicle. The park is maintained by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and rangers patrol the park daily.

As well as camping facilities, the nearby towns of Gloucester and Dungog have many places to stay.

Barrington Guest House

The Barrington Guest House on the upper Williams River near Barrington Tops was a popular venue for people to stay in the park, until it burned down on in a fire at 11pm 24 September 2006 due to a fault in electrical wiring. [Cite news |url=,20867,20471584-5006784,00.html |title=Fire destroys historic guesthouse |work=The Australian |date=2006-09-25 |accessdate=2007-01-11] The guest house was undergoing modernisation under new ownership at the time of the fire. There are plans to rebuild the guesthouse anew.

The guest house was built from 1925 by Norman T. McLeod, licensee of the Royal Hotel in Dungog, using timber cut and milled from the property. It is located on property consisting of Convert|10.5|ha|acre|1|lk=on of forest surrounded by National and State Parks and was officially opened in 1930 by Dr Sir Earle Page MHR, then Leader of the Country Party and former Treasurer of Australia and later Prime Minister of Australia.

Aircraft crashes

A number of aircraft have crashed in and around the Barrington Tops, Aircraft Hill being named after one of the crashes. 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".
*16 April 1945 - De Havilland Mosquito A52-70. Wreckage found January 1946 in the national park. [Cite web |url= |title=Military Aircraft Crashes in NSW during WW2 years |work=Peter Dunn's Australia At War |accessdate=2007-01-11] [Cite web |url= |title=RAAF A52 De Havilland DH-98 Mosquito |work=ADF Aircraft Serial Numbers |accessdate=2007-01-11]
**The propellor, ailerons and machine gun were on display at the Barrington Tops Guest House. [Cite paper |url= |title=Plane Sailing: The archaeology of aircraft losses over water in New South Wales, Australia |author=Tim Smith |format=PDF |accessdate=2007-01-11]
*2 September 1948 - Australian National Airlines Douglas DC-3 VH-ANK. 13 killed. [Cite web |url= |title=Barrington Tops, NSW: Aircraft Crash |work=Emergency Management Australia National Disasters Database |accessdate=2007-01-10] [Cite web |url= |title=ASN Aircraft accident description Douglas C-47A-50-DL VH-ANK - Quirindi, NSW |work=Aviation Safety Network |accessdate=2007-01-10] [Cite web |url= |title=VH-ANK |work=Ed Coates' Civil Aircraft Photograph Collection |accessdate=2007-01-11]
*14 September 1969 - Lockheed Hudson VH-SML crashed in the foothills. 3 killed. [Cite web |url= |title=Crash of a Lockheed Hudson foothills of Barrington Ranges, NSW on 14 September 1954 |work=Peter Dunn's Australia At War |accessdate=2007-01-11] [Cite web |url= |title=VH-SML |work=The Lockheed File |accessdate=2007-01-11]
*25 September 1969 - RAAF Mirage III-O. Crew ejected safely. [Cite web|url=|title=Brotherhood of Airmen: The Men and Women of the RAAF in Action, 1914-Today|author=David Wilson|publisher=Google|accessdate=2008-06-28] Cite news |url= |title=Off the radar |work=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=2004-03-29 |accessdate=2007-01-10 ]
*9 August 1981 - Cessna 210 VH-MDX. 5 killed, multiple searches have not found wreckage or bodies. [Cite web |url= |title=Barrington Tops, NSW: Light Aircraft Crash in Storm |work=Emergency Management Australia National Disasters Database |accessdate=2007-01-10]
*3 August 1987 - Aermacchi MB-326H A7-079 (built as CA30-79). Crew ejected. Wreckage located by bushwalkers 28 April 1995. [Cite paper |url= |author=CMDR John Crawley, RAN (Rtd) |title=A Chronological History of Ejections from ADF Aircraft |format=PDF|accessdate=2007-01-11] [Cite web |url= |title=Aermacchi MB326 |work=Clyde North Aeronautical Preservation Group |accessdate=2007-01-11]
**Photo of crew being rescued from a tree. [Cite web |url= |title=Chronological Listing of Australian RAAF & RAN Ejections |work=Project Get Out and Walk |accessdate=2007-01-11]

Fact sheet

*"Area:" Convert|743|km2|sqmi|0
*"Coordinates": coord|32|03|10|S|151|29|37|E|type:landmark_region:AU
*"Date of establishment:" 3 December 1969
*"Managing authorities:" New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service
*"IUCN category:" Ib

ee also

* Protected areas of New South Wales (Australia)


Note 14 links to password protected Australian Government site

External links

* [ NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service]
* [ Barrington Tops Tourism Website]
* [ Barrington Guest House]

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