Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Mornington Sanctuary

Mornington Sanctuary
Mornington Sanctuary
320,668 ha (792,050 acres)
Central Kimberley
  • Mammals: 33
  • Birds: 202
  • Reptiles: 76
  • Amphibians: 22
Threatened Wildlife
At least 13 species, including:
At least 600 species
Threatened Plants
At least 10 species
Threatened Ecosystems
Ecosystems Not Protected in National Parks
Ecosystems Inadequately Protected in National Parks


Assessment underway

Major On-Ground Programs
  • Biodiversity research (Gouldian Finch)
  • Biodiversity surveys and monitoring
  • Feral animal control (donkeys, horses)
  • Fire management 
  • Visitors` programs
  • Weed control (Callotropis)

Mornington sanctuary is one of Australia's largest non-government protected areas, covering 3,207 km2 of the upper catchment of the Fitzroy river as well as sections of the rugged King Leopold Ranges. The sanctuary lies in the heart of the Central Kimberley Bioregion, which is recognised as one of the world’s last true wilderness areas [Earth’s Last Wild Places (2002), Conservation International]. Only 4.4% of the bioregion is represented in the formal reserve system; by adding another 4.2%, Mornington doubles the area of land in the Central Kimberley that is managed for conservation.

The sanctuary protects a range of ecosystems associated with the tropical savanna of northern Australia, including open eucalypt woodlands, savanna grasslands, rocky, spinifex-clad ranges, and fire-protected wet gullies. Some of the vegetation communities on Mornington are not protected in any existing National Park.

The property also contains high levels of biodiversity, including several rare and threatened species (all listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) . Mornington is potentially a stronghold for many tropical savanna species that are known to be declining.

Active land management at Mornington is coupled with comprehensive monitoring and research programs, providing a rare opportunity to conduct large-scale, long-term research on critical environmental issues such as fire management and the impacts of cattle grazing on flora and fauna.

The management of Mornington helps to protect a wetland of national significance, Lake Gladstone, which is located on a travelling stock route adjacent to the property. Lake Gladstone is the largest permanent wetland in the Central Kimberley, and is therefore pivotal to the survival of dozens of wetland species, both resident and migratory.

The operation of visitor programs, including the Mornington Wilderness Camp, helps to promote awareness of the plight of northern Australia’s biodiversity and demonstrates the potential for alternative land uses in the tropical savanna.