New South Wales is situated on the east coast of Australia, between Queensland and Victoria. New South Wales is Australia’s most densely populated region. The estimated population of New South Wales was 6.89 million people at the end of June 2007. The state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia’s largest city. The colony of New South Wales (NSW) was founded in 1788, and originally comprised a large amount of the Australian mainland. The state can be divided geographically into four areas. Most of New South Wales has an aridor semi-aridclimate; however most of the eastern portion of NSW has a temperate and wet climate. New South Wales has more than 780 national parks and reserves covering more than 8% of the state. These parks range from rainforests, rugged bush to marine wonderlands and outback deserts, including World Heritageareas.

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General Landform Divisions:
Australia can be divided into four major landform divisions. These are the Western Plateau, Central Lowlands, Eastern Highlands and Coastal Planes. New South Wales consists of highlands, hills and plateaus and plains.

· New South Wales is part of the Eastern Highlands, which runs in a strip up to 200km wide down Australia’s east coast, from Cape York Peninsula to Tasmania. This is commonly referred to as the Great Dividing Range, which is derived from the role the highlands play in dividing the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian rivers into eastward flowing and west-ward flowing rivers.
· Rivers have cut into the softer rocks of the highlands, creating deep valleys and gorges, making the highlands quite rugged.
· The highlands are mostly composed of folded and faulted igneous rock. In a number of places, including the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney, the igneous rock overlays uplifted sandstone.
· The most apparent evidence of volcanic activity in the highlands is in the ‘Warrumbungle Range’ in central New South Wales. The volcanic cones have been eroded, leaving towers of hard rock, which plugged the vents.

Coastal Plains
· There is a narrow coastal plain, which extends along the eastern edge of Australia.
· The coastal plains are the most densely populated and used part of Australia.
· Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, which are Australia’s largest cities, are all situated on the coastal plain.
· The plain can be quite narrow in some areas, or expand for some distance inland elsewhere, as a series of coastal river valleys.
Central Lowlands
· The central lowlands occupy a quarter of Australia’s continental landmass. The lowlands are largely featureless and low-lying, being mostly 200 metres above sea level.
· They are composed of sediments deposited on the floor of an ancient inland sea.
· These lowlands are made up of sediments deposited on the floor of an ancient inland sea.
· The landform features of the region include sand ridges and saltpans, which are expanses of ground covered with salt and other minerals.
The Warrumbungles
The Warrumbungle Mountains are located in northern New South Wales. The Warrumbungles are the remnants of a large, heavily eroded ‘shield volcano,’ which was last active 15 to 18 million years ago.
The distinguishing landform features of the Warrumbungle include a series of giant, jagged rocky outcrops. The section of the range where volcanic remnants are clustered has been named The Grand High Tops. These vents and rocky formations consist of the Belougery spire, Belougery Split Rock, Crater Bluff, Bluff Mountain, The Breadknife and Mount Exmouth. The Breadknife, a straight wall of jagged rock nearly 100 metres high, is particularly rare. The highest point of the Warrumbungle Mountains is Mount Exmouth, at 1,206 m.
The range lies between the moist eastern coastal zone and the dryer plains to the west. Due to this position the mountains have provided protection for flora and fauna suited to both habitats. There is an abundance of flora and fauna, having more than 150 species of birds recorded in the Warrumbungles National Park.
Warrumbungle Breadknife

Drainage Basins
Drainage Divisions
A drainage basin is an area of land that is drained by a river and its tributaries. Australia is divided into twelve drainage divisions, which are sub-divided into a total of seventy-seven water regions. These water regions are then subdivided into river basins, and there are 245 of these basins.
The continents major topographic features and climatic zones affects the drainage divisions, which gives broadly “homogeneous hydrological,” which means to do with water, regions. Major watershed lines, which are ridges of high land that divide two areas of land drained by different river systems, define the river basins within drainage divisions.
Major Drainage Basins in New South Wales
The Murray-Darling Basin covers 1,061,469 square kilometres, and drains one-seventh of the Australian landmass. The basins name is derived from its two major rivers, which are the Murray River (2530km long); and the Darling River (2740km approx.). The basin is generally flat and low-lying, receiving comparatively little rainfall. Most of the rivers contained in the basin are long and slow-flowing. The Basin has a large variety of climatic conditions, and its vastly diverse landscapes range from sub-tropical conditions in the far north, cool humid eastern uplands, high alpine country of the Snowy Mountains, the temperate south-east, to the hot and dry semi-arid and arid western plains.
The Murray-Darling Basin receives just six per cent of Australia’s annual rainfall. Over 70 per cent of Australia’s irrigation resources are focused there. It is the most important agricultural region in Australia, accounting for 42 per cent of the nation’s farmland and producing 40 per cent of the nation’s food.

Soils & Natural Resources
Natural resources in New South Wales contribute greatly to the Australian environment. From soils to minerals, from energy sources to mining, this gives you information about all of New South Wales Natural Resources.
New South Wales has some of the richest soil in the world. This soil is mainly found around the Great Dividing Range. It’s most common soil is a soil that does not contain much nitrogen and phosphorus. This means it is not as suitable for agriculture. Only 6% of Australian soil is suitable for agriculture and the majority of this is found in New South Wales. (Scan Image here)
The richest soil is found around the Great Dividing Range and is a volcanic soil. It is associated with sedimentary rocks or volcanic activity within the area. This suggests that that the Great Dividing Range once housed volcanic activity. This soil is very rich and is ideal for growing plants and also for agricultural purposes. This is why there are high amounts of vegetation where this soil is found. Wheat is also grown in large amounts around this area.
The next richest soil is also the most abundant in New South Wales. It found between Canberra and Sydney, and also around the western New South Wales area. It is not as good for growing plants and other vegetation. This soil is found mostly in New South Wales and South Australia.
The other soil type is the second most abundant in New South Wales and is not very good for growing anything. It is found it the desert parts of Australia and much can be grown there. It is mostly located in hot and dry areas although it can be found all around Australia. It is the most abundant soil in Australia. It can be found in NSW in the western parts of NSW.

Natural Resources
Mineral resources in Australia are varied. Gold, silver, zinc, lead, copper, nickel and cobalt can all be found in New South Wales. These can be found in different geographical areas or ‘belts.’ The most abundant of the belts is the Lachlan Fold Belt. It contains all of the minerals listed above. It is also the biggest belt in NSW. Other minerals that are mined in NSW include coal, iron, aluminium and steel. Coal is mined heavily in NSW and is one of its biggest mineral exports. These exports can make up to $6.7 billion. (Trace image from 1st site)
Energy resources in NSW include natural gas, hydro-electric and landfill gas. These help to power Sydney and help with the running of day to day things. Natural gas is found in the central coast and south coast, just on the outskirts of Sydney. They create a combined total of 460 megawatts of energy. There are five hydro electric plants in NSW that generate 62.2 megawatts of energy. The last energy resource in NSW is landfill gas which is the chemical reactions in a landfill to form gas. These produce only 3 megawatts of energy.

Patterns of Weather and Climate in NSW

The whole of New South Wales is temperate which means that it has no extremes in terms of temperature and rainfall. The climate of the coastal bit has the warm waters of the Tasman Sea to influence the climate there. These in general keep the region free from extremes of temperature and provide humidity to increase rainfall, the annual average of rainfall ranges from about 750 millimetres in the south to 2000 millimetres in the north. The highest mountain in New South Wales is Mount Kosciuszko, which at its summit measures 2228 metres. Mt Kosciuszko is located in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. To the west the land gradually flattens out to the dry inland plains, noteworthy for cold nights. In the far northwest the hottest temperatures in the state occur during summer, the annual mean rainfall drops below 200 mm.

Common Natural Disasters in NSW

The most common forms of Natural Disasters in NSW are bushfires and floods. In 2009 there were 26 floods mostly inland in NSW. There were also 36 bushfires which occurred in most regions of the state. This shows that NSW has a warm to hot climate most of the time. There was one point in summer, early 2009, when there were 60 bushfires burning simultaneously across NSW.
During January 2010, The SMH published an article that stated there was fear of mosquito borne diseases coming from NSWs rising flood waters. This is the article.
“Health authorities fear a rising risk of mosquito-borne diseases in NSW's flood-affected areas as insect numbers surge after recent heavy rains. Large areas of NSW have been lashed by storms in the past fortnight, leading to widespread flooding in the state's northwest. With reports of an explosion of mosquito numbers in flood-ravaged areas such as Coonamble, Bourke and Brewarrina, there are now concerns about outbreaks of diseases such as Ross River Fever.”

State emblem, Waratah
The waratah is in the proteaceous family. Waratah is a genus of five species of large shrubs or small trees in the Proteaceous, native to the south-eastern parts of Australia (New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania). They have spirally arranged leaves 10-20 cm long and 2-3 cm broad with entire or serrated margins, and large, dense flower heads 6-15 cm diameter with numerous small red flowers and a basal ring of red bracts.
Endangered species, Chef's Cap Correa
Chef's Cap Correa is a shrub to 2.5 metres tall. Its hairy stems are rust-coloured. The glossy, elliptical leaves are between 2 - 6 cm long and 1 - 2 cm wide. The long (2 - 3 cm) tubular flowers are greenish-yellow; appearing in spring and sporadically at other times. Chef's Cap Correa has been recorded between Nelligen and Mimosa Rocks National Park. Some threats to the chef’s cap Correa is that people are doing inappropriate burning off and developing the land in which they are found.

Typical species, Gum Tree
There are in fact more than 600 species of Eucalyptus to be found in Australia. These exist under a variety of common names, such as ironbark, blood wood, mountain ash, scribbly gum, red gum, or spotted gum, names which can refer to different species in different localities. As the most common genus in Sydney woodland, the gums provide a range of habitats for animals: nesting holes for possums, and nesting sites in the branches for many birds, food for koalas, and so on. The gum trees were widely used as building timbers by the early settlers, and we still use many of the species commercially.
Typical species, She Oak
To the casual observer, the she-oak looks like a pine: it even has little "cones", and there are no apparent flowers, for the she-oak is wind-pollinated. Early historic records often refer to cutting "pines", so the early settlers were obviously fooled as well. But if you look more closely, you will find that the "needles" are really branches, with the leaves pressed flat against them. The needles appear jointed, like bamboo: each of the "joints" is the end of one set of leaves, and the start of the next. This arrangement of the leaves helps the she-oak survive in the dry Australian conditions. The "cones" are woody fruits that hold seeds until fire comes, and then release them, and the seeds have wings, just like pine seeds.
Typical species, Sundew


Mammals, bandicoots
The northern brown bandicoot is common to the north of the Hawkesbury River in coastal areas and on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range. The long-nosed bandicoot is common and widespread throughout NSW, particularly in coastal areas and either side of the Great Dividing Range. This species is also the most common in the Sydney area.
The endangered southern brown bandicoot is patchily distributed, and seems to occur south from the Hawkesbury River to the Victorian border and east of the Great Dividing Range. There are two main populations. One is in Garigal and Ku-ring-gai Chase national parks in northern Sydney. The other lives around Ben Boyd National Park and Nudgee Nature Reserve in the far south-eastern corner of the state. Bandicoots can live in a wide variety of habitats, from rainforests to wet and dry woodlands to heathland. They mainly forage at night.
Reptiles, Blue Mountains water skink

Restricted to the middle and upper Blue Mountains west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains Water Skink is known from less than 40 locations extending from Newnes Plateau in the north-west to just south of Hazelbrook in the south-east.

The Blue Mountains water skink is a medium sized lizard that weighs up to 10 g. Adults have a maximum total length of approximately 200 mm, with the distance between the nose and anal opening up to about 80 mm. Its body is much darker than that of the other species of Eulamprus found in the Blue Mountains. The back is very dark brown to black with narrow yellow/bronze to white stripes along its length to the beginning of the tail, and continuing along the tail as a series of spots. This gives the appearance of a distinctive dark dorsal stripe bordered by yellow lines. The legs and sides are dark brown to black with yellow to bronze streaks and small blotches. The head is brown to bronze with black flecks and the underside is cream to golden yellow with small dark blotches. The limbs are well developed and each has five toes.
Amphibians, Davies Tree Frog

Davies Tree Frog occurs mostly from the Barrington Tops area north to the Carrai plateau in the headwaters of coastal rivers, although there are some records in the headwaters of the western flowing Peel River

Davies Tree Frog grows to 63mm long. It has a broad olive-green stripe from the snout to the top of the arm and a narrow dark-brown stripe from the snout through the eye, broadening and breaking into patches along the sides. There is also a green stripe on the outer thigh.
Davies Tree Frog occurs in permanently flowing streams above 400 m elevation where the habitat includes streamside vegetation such as rainforest, moist and dry eucalypt forest or heath and tea tree with tussocks and ferns along streams whilst breeding occurs in summer, and possibly in spring.
Birds, Striated Grass wren
The Striated Grass wren is similar in appearance to fairy-wrens, though significantly larger in size. The upper parts are a soft reddish-brown, with white streaks while the underparts are buff with heavy white streaking on the breast. The bird has brown eye brows and what looks like black whiskers on its face even though it doesn’t have whiskers.
In NSW, the race stratus was formerly distributed from the Namoi Valley area through the southern half of the Murray-Darling Basin. It is now currently known from only two disjunct localities. In central NSW, populations remain extant in Yathong Nature Reserve and surrounding areas of leasehold land. A second population occurs in south-western NSW in the Scotia Mallee west of the Darling River, including Tarawi NR, Scotia Sanctuary and adjoining properties. This population is contiguous with populations in adjoining Mallee country in South Australia.

Invertebrates, Black Grass-dart

The Black Grass-dart has a wingspan of 18-19 mm. The upper side of the wings is dark brown-black with orange spots. The underside of the wing is dark brown-black with yellow spots and bands. The Black Grass-dart is distinguished from other Grass-dart species by the less extensive orange markings on the upper side and a much darker appearance.

The Black Grass-dart is found on the Mid North Coast between Digger's Headland and Warrell Creek. The main occurrence is just south of Coffs Harbour.
The Black Grass-dart is confined to areas of Swamp Oak or Paperbark swamp forest and coastal headlands where the Laval food plant Alexfloydia ripens Floyd’s Grass occurs. The black grass darts eggs are laid on the underside tip of a leaf of the larval food plant. The flight period is from September to May. Adults remain close to the food plant and are active in sunny, warm conditions.
Endangered species, the blue whale
The blue whale is the largest marine mammal up to 33 m long. The head and back are dark slate blue with patches on the side that are pale in colour and the underside often has a sulphur like appearance, the dorsal fin is triangular and very low and placed well back on the body. A tall relatively narrow blow rises to 10 m.
The blue whale is found in the Southern Hemisphere between 20 degrees to 70 degrees South including NSW waters.

State emblem, platypus
Platypus fur is extremely fine but dense. It has two layers - a woolly undercoat and longer, shiny outer guard hairs - which together trap a layer of air next to the skin, keeping most of the animal's body dry even when diving. The fur is deep brown on the back and sides of the head, body and upper surfaces of the limbs. The underside is a golden colour although silky grey is not uncommon. The fur on the broad flat tail is coarse and bristly.
A platypus must eat large quantities of food to survive - at least half their body weight every day.The platypus diet consists of insect larvae, snails, yabbies, worms, tadpoles and other fauna and shellfish. They also occasionally eat small frogs, small fish and fish eggs. Its sensitive bill detects and uncovers its prey in the mud at the bottom of rivers, around boulders, under logs and among reeds. It snaps up the food, along with grit to aid in grinding, stores it in its cheek pouches, and then comes to the surface to feed. Adult platypuses do not have teeth; instead they have horny plates to crush the food. Young platypuses have molar teeth to chew their food but these are replaced by the horny ridges as they mature.


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