THE COMBOYNE PLATEAU. Its General Confoemation and Flora. By E. C. Chisholm, M.B., Ch.M. (One Text-figure.) • [Read 26th August, 1925.] The Comboyne Plateau is situated in the County of Macquarie, about 170 miles north and a little east of Sydney, though 250 miles by rail and road, and about 20 miles by air line from the coast. Its average height above sea-level is 2,200 feet, though its highest point. Mount Gibraltar, rises to about 3,200 feet. There are two other mountains or high elevations. Mount Bulli, about 2,700 feet, and The Kopje, about 2,600 feet above sea-level. These three points occupy the south-east quadrant, and are situated near the edge, which falls away very abruptly in the case of Mount Gibraltar, less so in the other two cases. The rest of the Plateau is hilly, well intersected with perennial streams forming three watersheds. That on the east, taking its origin at the eastern base of Mount Bulli, is the watershed of the Camden Haven River, which, running through Kendall, reaches the sea at Laurieton; that on the south and south-west is the watershed of the Manning, which, lower down, runs through Wingham and Taree; that on the north, north-west and west forms the watershed of the Hastings, running out at Port Macquarie. The area of the Plateau is estimated at about 70 square miles, the larger portion of it having been covered with Softwood Brush or Rain Forest. The formation is basaltic, the soil being of a rich red colour. This red soil reaches in places to a considerable depth, getting shallower towards the edges, especially to the north and west, where the formation is of sandstone or sedimentary deposit, and here, as one would expect, the hardwood timber, especially Eucalyptus, with a sprinkling of Casuarina torulosa, predominates. At the junction of the two formations it is usual to find Tristania conferta (the Brush Box). At isolated spots on the area, especially elevated ones, the sandstone — in using the term "sandstone" I am not confining myself to pure sandstone, of which there is very little, though it does occur in isolated patches — or sedimentary formation out- crops, and here again the hardwoods prevail. At the extreme summit of Mount Bulli one comes across Eucalyptus quadrangulata, this being the only place on the Comboyne where it is found, and the farthest north that it has been recorded, the Hunter River being its northern previously recorded limit (see Maiden, Critical Revision, Genus Eucalyptus, iii, p. 76). The country on top is now mostly cleared for dairying purposes, so that it is difficult to imagine this plateau in its virgin state. There is now only a comparatively small area of virgin brush forest left in the centre, though the Government has set apart 200 acres at the western edge, on Mumford's Creek, as a reserve, which area includes two fine waterfalls, the Allen Falls, not very high, but over which a large body of water is pre-



The Comboyne Plateau. Its general conformation and flora

E C Chisholm
Proceedings of The Linnean Society of New South Wales 50: 284-298 (1925)

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