South Australian Geology and The State Heritage Register: An Example of Geoconservation of the Naracoorte Caves Complex and Karst Environment

South Australia’s State Heritage Register contains 2294 listed places, the majority of which are from the ‘Built’ environment, ranging from settlers’ huts, community buildings, historical industrial sites to magnificent stone mansions. Only 96 places are linked to the ‘Natural’ environment. The Register listings protect heritage places from alteration, damage or removal without formal prior consultation, compulsory under the South Australian Development Act. ‘Natural’ environments are landscape-based and oriented towards Geological, Archaeological, Palaeontological and Speleological heritage (‘GAPS heritage’). A process to provide a greater balance between ‘Natural’ and ‘Built’ listings has initiated a series of State Heritage ‘Natural’ environment assessments, mostly of single sites. Two individual caves in the Naracoorte Caves National Park are already entered in the State Heritage Register as single sites. However, an innovative broader multiple-site nomination has focused on the many different but significant GAPS features contained within the 25 caves of the Naracoorte Caves National Park, providing a further level of protection for the land and the caves’ exteriors and interiors. The example of the Naracoorte Caves draws attention to the number of important land and coastal karst (limestone) features across South Australia that were generated by steady geological uplift of three large sections of Oligocene–Miocene limestone–the Nullarbor Plain, the Murray Basin and the Gambier Karstfield (which includes Naracoorte and Mount Gambier), resulting in specific karst forms worthy of a broader coordinating management approach across South Australian karst parks.


Journal article

Journal citation

Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 66, 2019 – Issue 6


There is a cost of US $51 to obtain a copy of the article. Abstract included in PLA’s Research Connections article in Parks and Leisure Australia Vol 23.3 Spring 2020. ISBN 1446-5604


Approval received from publisher to use abstracts only


Lewis, I. D. (Author)


Taylor and Francis online: 2019