The Stirling Range National Park was gazetted in 1913.
Stirling Range National Park encloses the only major mountain range within the southern half of Western Australia. The Park is one of the richest areas for flora in the world with 1500 species, many of which grow nowhere else, packed within its boundaries.
As the only vertical obstacle to weather in any direction, Stirling Range tends to alter weather patterns around itself. It is renowned for its unusual, and sometimes spectacular cloud formations. The aboriginal name for the range, Koi Kyenunu-ruff, means ‘mist rolling around the mountains’ – a frequently seen occurrence. The Stirling Range occasionally receives snowfalls – the only place in Western Australia to regularly do so, though usually it is very light.
The mountains were formed as much as two billion years ago and subsequently converted to quartzites and shales 1.2 billion years ago.
The Stirling Range was named by Surveyor General J.S. Roe in 1835 after Sir James Stirling, then Governor of Western Australia. In his diary Roe records, “These remarkable and picturesque mountains being as yet unknown collectively by any distinguishing appellation, and His Excellency having kindly consented to my conferring on them a name, I called them the ‘Stirling Range’, after the Governor”.
The eastern end of these ranges were sighted by Matthew Flinders in 1801-03 from the deck of the HMS Investigator near Cheyne Beach, and referred to by him as being 8 leagues (40 kilometres) inland. He referred to them as a chain of rugged mountains, and named the eastern and highest peak, Mount Rugged.
Scott Nind, the medical officer based at King George Sound with Lockyer in 1827, referred to the range as ‘ Corjernurruf’ in his account of a Description of the Natives of King George Sound, published in The Royal Geographical Society Journal, 1830.
in December 1829, while on an expedition from Albany, Doctor J.B. Wilson R.N. sighted these ranges from the western end of the Porongorups and referred to them as ‘Morillup Range’.
Dr Alexander Collie refers to ‘Rugged Mountain (by the aboriginals Kai-Kyeunu-ruff)’ in April 1831, and J.S. Roe refers to the range as Koi-Keuneruf in December 1831. Ensign R. Dale of 73rd regiment, in January 1832 was requested by the Governor to proceed to the middle of the “Koikyeun-u-ruff Range” and in February 1832 Collie uses the spelling Koikyennuruff. J.S. Roe in February 1835 refers to ‘the lofty and picturesque mountains of Toolbrunup, Koi-kyuneruf etc’, and in August 1835 he refers to the Koikeunuruf Range.
© Kim Epton 2017-2022
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