Yathong Nature Reserve was originally acquired to research the conservation of red kangaroos, with the eventual aim of kangaroo farming. But instead it was decided to manage the area because of its diversity of flora and fauna.
Other studies carried out on these reserves include the impacts of grazing and feral animals on native vegetation, the development of appropriate fire regimes for native plant and animal communities in semi arid NSW, vegetation and fauna surveys, kangaroo biology and behaviour, fire patterns and impacts, and rabbit control and research into mallee fowl and reptile ecology.
Interested groups and individuals are encouraged to carry out observation and survey of wildlife in the reserves with the permission of the district managers.
YATHONG, NOMBINNIE AND ROUND HILL NATURE RESERVES
Yathong, Nombinnie and Round Hill Nature Reserves cover approximately 191,000 ha of plain and ridge country between Cobar and Griffith. They were former grazing leases which were reserved to protect viable mallee and woodland communities of Central NSW.
The surrounding district is used for grazing (mainly sheep) and dryland wheat farming. The nearest village is Mount Hope, a remnant of a much larger mining community, or Euabalong on the Lachlan River. Brush cutting is also an industry on surrounding private property.
The area protects the largest remaining stand of mallee in NSW and it is only in large areas like this that many of the rarer plants and animals can be conserved. The mallee west of Round Hill has not been burnt since 1957. Old mallee is unusual and is the prime habitat for a number of species such as the malleefowl.
The reserves also contain woodland habitats typical of central NSW such as white cypress pine (Callitris glaucophylla), bimble box (Eucalyptus populnea), black box (E. largiflorens) and belah (Casuarina cristate).
Rare and endangered plant species include wild lime (Eremocitrus glauca), common sour-bush (Choretrum glomeratum), western wedding-bush (Ricinocarpus bowmanii), iron-grass (Lomandra patens), yellow darling pea (Swainsona laxa) and Phebalium obcordatum, brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) and azure daisy-bush(Olearia rudis).
Limited bushwalking and camping is allowed with permission of the appropriate district Office.
Vehicle use by visitors and researchers will be permitted only on formed roads and tracks.
Visitors camping in the reserves are required to use fuel stoves for cooking.
Note that the reserves are fairly isolated and all roads, both public and reserve, are unsealed. The reserve roads are generally not usable in wet weather.
There are no facilities for visitors apart from accommodation for researchers and students in the Yathong shearers’ quarters.
An attractive alternative location for bush walking and camping is the adjacent Yathong State Forest, at the southern end of the Merrimerriwa Range.
Five homesteads and shearing complexes remain, in varying condition, dating from the 1860s to the 1980s. Relics include fences, tanks, bores, troughs, yards, huts, and windmills.
The area was settled by European graziers in the mid 1860s when the development of water conservation techniques allowed settlement away from the rivers. Victorian pastoralists, the DeSailly brothers, established Yathong and other stations in the ‘backblocks’. They used steam-driven bore digging machinery to tap aquifers in the otherwise marginal country. Using tanks and bores they were able to stock the country with sheep.
The shearers quarters at “Yathong”, and the much smaller ones at “Lysmoyle” are still standing.