|Area||15,250 km2 (5,890 sq mi)|
The Tirari Desert is a 15,250 square kilometres (5,888 sq mi) desert in the eastern part of the Far North region of South Australia. It stretches 212 km from north to south and 153 km from east to west.
The Tirari Desert features salt lakes and large north–south running sand dunes.It is located partly within the Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park. It lies mainly to the east of Lake Eyre North. Cooper Creek runs through the centre of the desert.
The adjacent deserts of the area include Simpson Desert which lies to the north while the Strzelecki Desert is to the east and the Sturt Stony Desert runs aligned with the Birdsville track to the north east.
The desert experiences harsh conditions with high temperatures and very low rainfall (mean annual rainfall is below 125 millimetres (4.9 in)).
The main vehicular access to the desert is via the unpaved Birdsville Track which runs northwards from Marree to Birdsville. The Mungerannie Hotel is the only location between the two towns that provides services.
The Tirari Desert region has a number of large cattle stations which are stopping points on the Channel Country aviation mail run.
Dulkaninna Station has been run by the same family for 110 years, has 2,000 cattle and breeds horses and kelpies. 1-million-acre (4,000 km2) cattle station with 2500 cattle. The station environs include a number of heritage sites include Bucaltaninna Homestead ruins, the Woolshed ruins and Canny Trig Point (also known as Milner's Pile) and the state heritage-registered Killalpaninna Mission site.Etadunna Station to the north is a
Further north again is Mulka Station which also has a number of heritage sites including homestead ruins at Apatoongannie, Old Mulka and Ooroowillannie. The Mulka Store ruins is listed as a state heritage place on the South Australian Heritage Register.
The vegetation of the dunefields of the Tirari Desert is dominated by either Sandhill Wattle ( Acacia ligulata ) or Sandhill Cane-grass ( Zygochloa paradoxa ) which occur on the crests and slopes of dunes. Tall, open shrubland also occurs on the slopes.The otherwise sparsely vegetated dunefields become covered by a carpet of grasses, herbs and colourful flowering plants following rains.
The interdune soil types and hence the vegetation, varies with the dune spacing. Closer spaced dunes result in sandy valleys that have similar vegetation to the dune sides while widely spaced dunes are separated by gibber or flood plains, each supporting particular vegetation communities.
The vegetation on the floodplains varies with the capacity of the land to retain floodwaters, and the frequency of inundation. In drier areas, species including Old Man Saltbush ( Atriplex nummularia ), Cottonbush ( Maireana aphylla ) and Queensland Bluebush ( Chenopodium auricomum ) form a sparse, open shrubland, whereas swamps and depressions are frequently associated with Swamp Cane-grass ( Eragrostis australasica ) and Lignum ( Muehlenbeckia florulenta ).
The intermittent watercourses and permanent waterholes associated with tributaries of Cooper Creek support woodland dominated by River Red Gum ( Eucalyptus camaldulensis ) and Coolibah ( Eucalyptus coolabah ).
As at 2008, the Tirari Desert is included in biogeographic regions (IBRA) SSD3: Dieri, part of the Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields (SSD) Region.The desert is also part of the Tirari-Sturt stony desert ecoregion.
The desert includes the Lake Ngapakaldi to Lake Palankarinna Fossil Area, a 3.5 square kilometres (1.4 sq mi) area on the now-defunct Register of the National Estate with significant Tertiary period vertebrate fossils.
The area was first explored by Europeans in 1866 and was previously settled by a small tribe of Aboriginals, the Tirari.
The Tirari Desert has been part of the Dieri people's native title claim.The Australian anthropologist Norman Tindale reported a small tribe now extinct which he referred to as the Tirari. They were located at the eastern shore of Lake Eyre from Muloorina north to Warburton River; east to Killalapaninna. Tindale disagreed with the earlier findings of Alfred William Howitt that these people were a horde of the Dieri as the language spoken was different from Dieri. Since Tindale's work was published, much of the data relating to Aboriginal language group distribution and definition has undergone revision since 1974. Tindale's focus was to depict Aboriginal tribal distribution at the time of European contact.
In the 1860s two Aboriginal missions were established near the Cooper Creek crossing of the Birdsville Track. The Moravians established a short-lived mission at Lake Kopperamanna in 1866. This was closed in 1869 due to drought conditions and poor relations with the local indigenous community.
Bethesda Mission was established by German Lutherans at nearby Lake Killalpaninna around the same period and, after also being abandoned for a short time, was re-established and by the 1880s it resembled a small town with more than 20 dwellings including a church. At this time, it had a population of "several hundred aborigines and a dozen whites".Primarily financed by sheep grazing, the mission closed in 1917 due to the effects of drought and rabbit plagues. Currently, there is little evidence of the settlement other than a small cemetery and some remnant timber posts. The mission remains are listed on the South Australian Heritage Register as the Killalpaninna Mission Site.
On an 1866 expedition to determine the northern limit of Lake Eyre, Peter Egerton Warburton approached the desert from the west and followed the upstream course of what is now known as the Warburton River, but which he incorrectly believed was Cooper Creek.In 1874 another expedition, led by James William Lewis, again followed the river upstream to the Queensland border, retracing the route on the return journey and then headed south to the Kopperamanna mission. Subsequently, they followed the course of Cooper Creek to conduct a survey of the east shore of Lake Eyre. Lewis, in a later account of his expedition, said of the lake "I sincerely trust I may never see it again; it is useless in every respect, and the very sight of it creates thirst in man and beast."
The Simpson Desert is a large area of dry, red sandy plain and dunes in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland in central Australia. It is the fourth-largest Australian desert, with an area of 176,500 km2 (68,100 sq mi).
The Birdsville Track is a notable outback road in Australia. The 517-kilometre (321 mi) track runs between Birdsville in south-western Queensland and Marree, a small town in the north-eastern part of South Australia. It traverses three deserts along the route, the Strzelecki Desert, Sturt Stony Desert and Tirari Desert.
The Diyari, alternatively transcribed as Dieri, is an Indigenous Australian group of the South Australian desert originating in and around the delta of Cooper Creek to the east of Lake Eyre.
The Lake Eyre basin is a drainage basin that covers just under one-sixth of all Australia. It is the largest endorheic basin in Australia and amongst the largest in the world, covering about 1,200,000 square kilometres (463,323 sq mi), including much of inland Queensland, large portions of South Australia and the Northern Territory, and a part of western New South Wales. The basin is also one of the largest, least-developed arid zone basins with a high degree of variability anywhere. It supports about 60,000 people and a large amount of wildlife, and has no major irrigation, diversions or flood-plain developments. Low density grazing is the major land use, occupying 82% of the total land within the basin.
The Cooper Creek is one of the most famous rivers in Australia because it was the site of the death of the explorers Burke and Wills in 1861. It is sometimes known as the Barcoo River from one of its tributaries and is one of three major Queensland river systems that flow into the Lake Eyre basin. The flow of the creek depends on monsoonal rains falling months earlier and many hundreds of kilometres away in eastern Queensland. It is 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) in length.
The Far North is a large region of South Australia close to the Northern Territory border. Colloquial usage of the term in South Australia refers to that part of South Australia north of a line roughly from Ceduna through Port Augusta to Broken Hill. The South Australian Government defines the Far North region similarly with the exception of the Maralinga Tjarutja Lands. the Yalata Aboriginal community and other unincorporated crown lands in the state's far west, which are officially considered part of the Eyre and Western region.
Innamincka, formerly Hopetoun, is a town and locality in north-east South Australia, with a population of 44 people. By air it is 821 kilometres north-east of Adelaide and 365 kilometres north-east from the closest town, Lyndhurst. It is also 66 kilometres north-east of the Moomba Gas Refinery. The town lies within the Innamincka Regional Reserve and is surrounded by the Strzelecki Desert to the south and the Sturt Stony Desert to the north. It is linked by road to Lyndhurst via the Strzelecki Track, to the Birdsville Developmental Roadvia Cordillo Downs Road and Arrabury Road (via Haddon Corner,and the Walkers Crossing Track to the Birdsville Track; the Walkers Crossing Track is closed in summer and only traversable in dry weather. The township is situated along the Cooper Creek, a part of the Lake Eyre basin.
The Strzelecki Desert is located in the Far North Region of South Australia, South West Queensland and western New South Wales. It is positioned in the northeast of the Lake Eyre Basin, and north of the Flinders Ranges. Two other deserts occupy the Lake Eyre Basin—the Tirari Desert and the Simpson Desert.
Diyari or Dieri is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken by the Diyari people in the far north of South Australia, to the east of Lake Eyre. It was studied by German Lutheran missionaries who translated Christian works into the language in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so that it developed an extensive written form. Only a few fluent speakers of Diyari remained by the early 21st century, but a dictionary and grammar of the language was produced by linguist Peter K. Austin, and there is a project under way to teach it in schools.
Sturt Stony Desert is an area in the north-east of South Australia, far south western border area of Queensland and the far west of New South Wales.
The crest-tailed mulgara, is a small to medium-sized Australian carnivorous marsupial and a member of the family Dasyuridae which includes quolls, dunnarts, the numbat, Tasmanian devil and extinct thylacine. The crest-tailed mulgara is among a group of native predatory mammals or mesopredators endemic to arid Australia.
The Lake Ngapakaldi to Lake Palankarinna Fossil Area is a group of fossil sites located in the Australian state of South Australia within the Tirari Desert in the north-eastern part of the state's Far North region. The group has an overall area of 35 square kilometres (14 sq mi) and is located about 70 kilometres (43 mi) east of Lake Eyre and about 100 kilometres (62 mi) north-north-east of Marree, off the Birdsville Track near Etadunna Station.
The Coongie Lakes is a freshwater wetland system located in the Far North region of South Australia. The 21,790-square-kilometre (8,410 sq mi) lakes system is located approximately 1,046 kilometres north of the Adelaide city centre. The wetlands includes lakes, channels, billabongs, shallow floodplains, deltas, and interdune swamps. It lies on the floodplain of Cooper Creek, an ephemeral river flowing through a desert landscape in the Lake Eyre Basin which rarely, after occasional large floods, empties into Lake Eyre. The wetland system has been recognised both as being of international importance by designation under the Ramsar Convention with a listing on 15 June 1987 and being nationally important within Australia with a listing in A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (DIWA). Its extent includes the regional town of Innamincka, the Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park, the Innamincka Regional Reserve, the Strzelecki Regional Reserve and the Coongie Lakes Important Bird Area.
Cordillo Downs or Cordillo Downs Station is both a pastoral lease currently operating as a cattle station and a formal bounded locality in South Australia. It is located about 116 kilometres (72 mi) north of Innamincka and 155 kilometres (96 mi) south east of Birdsville. The name and boundaries of the locality were created on 26 April 2013 for the long established local name.
Lake Hope is an ephemeral salt lake in the far north of South Australia.
Mulka Station is a pastoral lease that operates as a cattle station in the far north of South Australia.
The Strzelecki Creek, part of the Lake Eyre basin, is an ephemeral watercourse located in the Australian state of South Australia.
Etadunna is a locality in the Australian state of South Australia located about 684 kilometres north of the capital city of Adelaide and about 108 kilometres north-east of the town of Marree.
Killalpaninna Mission, also known as just Killalpaninna, or alternatively Bethesda Mission, was a Lutheran mission for Aboriginal people in northeast South Australia, whose site is now located in the locality of Etadunna. It existed from 1866 to 1915.
The Dhirari were an indigenous Australian people of the state of South Australia. They are not to be confused with the Diyari people, though the Dirari/Dhirari language was a dialect of the Diyari language.
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