The Coorong National Park is a protected area located in South Australia about 156 kilometres (97 mi) southeast of Adelaide and that predominantly covers a lagoon ecosystem officially known as the Coorong and the Younghusband Peninsula on the Coorong's southern side.


Its name is thought to be a corruption of the local Aboriginal people's word kurangh, which means "long neck"; a reference to the shape of the lagoon system. The name is also thought to be from the Aboriginal word Coorang, "sand dune", a reference to the sand dunes that form the Younghusband Peninsula.


The western end of the Coorong lagoon is at the Murray Mouth near Hindmarsh Island and the Sir Richard Peninsula, and it extends about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southeast. The national park area includes the Coorong itself, and Younghusband Peninsula which separates the Coorong from Encounter Bay in the Southern Ocean. The Coorong has been cut off from Lake Alexandrina by the construction of the Goolwa Barrages (weirs) from Goolwa to Pelican Point during the late 1930s.[5]

The national park was formed in 1967 as a sanctuary for many species of birds, animals and fish. It attracts many migratory species. It provides refuge for these animals during some of Australia's regular droughts. The 467 square kilometres (180 sq mi) also supports coastal dune systems, lagoons and coastal vegetation.[6]

One of the unique aspects of the Coorong is the interaction of water along its length, with sea water and Murray River water meeting rainfall and groundwater. The freshwater supports the fauna (animal) of the area while the sea water is the habitat for much of the birdlife.[7]

The waters of the Coorong are a popular venue for recreational and commercial fishers. The popular 'Coorong Mullet' and 'school mulloway' are the main species. The region was the setting of the popular 1977 film Storm Boy.[citation needed]


The Coorong National Park was proclaimed on 9 November 1967 under the National Parks Act 1966 in respect to land in sections 17 and 60 in the cadastral unit of the Hundred of Glyde and section 6 in the Hundred of Santo.[2]

At the commencement of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 on 27 April 1972, the national park consisted of land in sections 17, 59 and 60 in the cadastral unit of the Hundred of Glyde and sections 6, 43 and 52 in the Hundred of Santo.[8]

The Coorong Game Reserve which was purchased by the Government of South Australia in 1968 was abolished on 14 January 1993 and its lands was added to the national park.[9] The game reserve occupied part of the Coorong lagoon to the immediate west of Salt Creek and had an area of 68.4 square kilometres (26.4 sq mi) as of May 1982.[10]:79


The wetlands within the part of the national park containing the Coorong Lagoon form a complex of freshwater, estuarine, and hypersaline waterbodies with a unique diversity of habitats for plants and animals. The coastal lagoons are considered critically endangered due to the loss of freshwater flows, local extinction of characteristic submerged plants and subsequent loss of habitat diversity.[11]


The Coorong National Park has been recognised by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area. It has supported the chestnut teal, Australian shelduck, sharp-tailed sandpiper, red-necked stint, banded stilt, red-necked avocet, pied oystercatcher and red-capped plover. Australasian bitterns have been recorded. It has also supported significant numbers of orange-bellied parrots, fairy terns and hooded plovers, although their usage of the site has declined from reduced freshwater inflows.[12]

Notable events

In February 2013, a lifeboat from MS Oliva, that foundered in the South Atlantic during 2011, washed up on a beach in the national park. [13]

The 2019 movie Storm Boy, starring Michael Kingley is set in the Coorong National Park and portrays the bond of a young boy who rescues and raises an extraordinary orphaned pelican, named Mr Percival.[14]


See also


  1. ^ "Terrestrial Protected Areas of South Australia (refer 'DETAIL' tab )". CAPAD 2016. Australian Government, Department of the Environment (DoE). 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b Walsh, Frank (9 November 1967). "NATIONAL PARKS ACT, 1966: VARIOUS NATIONAL PARKS NAMED" (PDF). South Australian Government Gazette. South Australian Government. p. 2043. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Protected Areas Information System Reserve List" (PDF). Government of South Australia. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  4. ^ "The Coorong, Lake Alexandrina & Albert Wetland". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  5. ^ Map of the Coorong Accessed 3/3/7
  6. ^ Coorong National Park Archived 20 October 2009 at the Wayback MachineThings to see and do, Accessed 30/7/9
  7. ^ Coorong National Park Archived 21 October 2009 at the Wayback MachineNatural Attractions, Accessed 30/7/9
  8. ^ "No. 56 of 1972 (National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1972)". The South Australian Government Gazette. Government of South Australia: 700. 27 April 1972. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  9. ^ "NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE ACT 1972 PART HI: RECONSTITUTION OF THE COORONG GAME RESERVE AS PART OF THE COORONG NATIONAL PARK" (PDF). The South Australian Government Gazette. Government of South Australia: 170. 14 January 1993. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  10. ^ Rudduck, Penny (May 1982). "EUROPEAN HERITAGE OF THE COORONG, A general survey of the sites of Early European Heritage of the area now comprising the Coorong National Park and Coorong Game Reserve" (PDF). National Parks and Wildlife Service, Government of South Australia. Retrieved 6 January 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Keith, DA; Rodríguez, J.P.; Rodríguez-Clark, K.M.; Aapala, K.; Alonso, A.; Asmussen, M.; Bachman, S.; Bassett, A.; Barrow, E.G.; Benson, J.S.; Bishop, M.J.; Bonifacio, R.; Brooks, T.M.; Burgman, M.A.; Comer, P.; Comín, F.A.; Essl, F.; Faber-Langendoen, D.; Fairweather, P.G.; Holdaway, R.J.; Jennings, M.; Kingsford, R.T.; Lester, R.E.; Mac Nally, R.; McCarthy, M.A.; Moat, J.; Nicholson, E.; Oliveira-Miranda, M.A.; Pisanu, P.; Poulin, B.; Riecken, U.; Spalding, M.D.; Zambrano-Martínez, S. (2013). "Scientific Foundations for an IUCN Red List of Ecosystems". PLoS One. 8 (5): e62111. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062111. PMC 3648534. PMID 23667454. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Important Bird Areas factsheet: Coorong". BirdLife International. 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Shipwreck lifeboat washes up in Australia". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  14. ^ "IMDB - Storm Boy (2019)".

External links

Media related to Coorong National Park at Wikimedia Commons