On Wednesday last week, NSW Environment and Heritage Minister, Gabrielle Upton, officially gazetted Cliefden Caves on the State Heritage Register. The Save Cliefden Caves Association and the National Trust have been pushing for a heritage listing of the internationally significant site since an application for listing was made in 2014.
Association Secretary, Harry Burkitt, said the decision was a vital step in the campaign to save the caves. “The Save Cliefden Caves Association is celebrating the decision by NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton to list Cliefden Caves on the State Heritage Register. It is fantastic news for environment and heritage in NSW!” Harry went onto say “Cliefden Caves are one of the natural wonders of Australia. The listing of the caves, fossils and thermal spring on the State Heritage Register will no doubt be welcome news to many groups in the Central West and beyond.”
The community has been pushing for a heritage listing of the caves for some years and congratulate the Minister and Heritage Council on their decision. Cliefden’s unique limestone caves, 430 million-year-old fossils and rare thermal spring are of international significance, and this announcement helps secure their protection for future generations. Mr Burkitt said that he was ever vigilant to ensure the caves and Belubula River Valley remain protected from any threats into the future. “Conservation groups, speleologists, and scientists around Australia are committed to ensuring the natural values of Cliefden Caves and the Belubula River Valley are not degraded in any way into the future.”
The Coalition government has been examining options for a dam in the area, with one proposed for the Cranky Rock area over the Belubula River nearby. This new Heritage Listing may throw a spanner in the works of this proposed dam.