Mount Augustus is a National Park that is managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation.
Mount Augustus, one of the World’s most spectacular peaks, towers 858 metres above the surrounding plain and is 1105 metres above sea level. This mighty monocline appearing like a giant anthill is visible for more than a 160kms and has long been a landmark both by air and road.
Mount Augustus Station, which is situated at the base of The Rock, is over 100 years old and covers over one million acres. The Station is still a working Station running beef cattle and has over 72 windmills to be maintained.
F T Gregory named Mount Augustus on 31 August 1858 after his brother Augustus, who was then leading an expedition in search of the remains of Dr Leichardt. The mountain was first ascended on 3 June 1858 by F T Gregory and is the culminating point of a long and broad ridge about 8 kms in length. The upper portion of the North face is an almost vertical escarpment.
The rocks of Mount Augustus are of Upper Proterozoic age, being deposited on an ancient sea floor as sand and boulders some one thousand years ago. The deposits of sand and boulders consolidated to form sandstone and conglomerate strata, which were eventually uplifted and folded. The strata at Mount Augustus are folded in an anticline – that is an upfold like an inverted V.
The sandstone and conglomerate strata of Mount Augustus are continuous over a wide area and occur at nearby Mount Phillip in the Parry range 160km to the northwest. The strata lie unconformably on granitic rock that formed the floor of the sea on which the sand and boulders were deposited. This granitic rock which lies under the rocks of Mount Augustus is 1,650 million years old.
Mount Augustus is constantly being compared to Ayers Rock but this is like trying to compare a Holden with a Rolls Royce, both are motor vehicles but completely different in most respects. Ayers Rock is a monolith without any growth whatsoever whilst Mount Augustus is covered with scree. Mount Augustus is more than twice the size of Ayers Rock and while it is possibly not as dramatic to look at as Ayers Rock it has splendour and mystique that justifies it being called “MAGIC MOUNTAIN”.
It constantly changes colour from bright red at sunrise through shades of green to hues of blue and purple to red again at sunset. Some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world may be seen at Mount Augustus.
To see everything there is at Mount Augustus would take anything up to a week. Most visitors spend at least 3 days walking up the beautiful waterfall area, which leads right to the summit where they may sign the visitors book placed inside a cairn or visit “Edney’s Lookout” which was the home of a rustler for many years at the turn of the century. The spring beside which he built his humpy is still there as are signs of his stockyards and old well.
There are 5 graded roads into the base of the Rock all of which offer something of interest to visitors – interesting rock formations, caves, and of course the Aboriginal drawings which are found on many parts of the Rock. These are very primitive and are thought to be pre-Dreamtime.
The area boasts numerous varieties of bird and wildlife and is a birdwatchers dream as nearly 100 species have already been identified. Nearby Cattle Pool on the Lyons River is a magical stretch of clear, blue water shaded by magnificent ghost and river gums where visitors may fish, swim, canoe as it is over 2kms long and very deep. An ideal spot for a picnic lunch, a stroll along the banks or just whiling away the hours with a good book under a shady tree.
Mount Augustus may be reached from many directions – 450kms from Carnarvon, 350kms from Barradale, 350kms from Meekatharra via Landor, from Newman or Mullewa. The roads into Mount Augustus are well-maintained gravel and present no problems to most drivers. However if you wish to avoid a bit of dust the Mount Augustus Station airstrip is an all weather strip, capable of taking DC3 and only a few minutes walk from the accommodation facilities at Mt Augustus.
Mount Augustus is fast becoming a mecca not only for overseas visitors but also for geologists, botanists, ornithologists, cavers, climbers, hikers and nature lovers in general. In a good season the surrounding area is a carpet of wildflowers, and wildlife may still be seen running free and at close quarters.