Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station

UNSW SydneyFG

Maps & Trails

Location

The Research Station is located 110 km north of Broken Hill on the Silver City Highway to Tibooburra. Seventy-five kilometres of the Highway are sealed to Fowlers Gap while the remaining 35 km is regularly maintained gravel road. However, the road can become impassable after heavy rain which is an irregular occurrence.

You can check for road closures with the Broken Hill District Office of the Road and Traffic Authority on (08) 8082 6660.

 

Ecotourism infrastructure

Fowlers Gap has established five Eco-Trails ranging from 1 - 8 h that traverse representative landsystems on the station. Each walk has a trail guide describing the route and geomophology and a supplementary guide to key flora and fauna. Fowlers Gap has two bird hides - one on a large dam and the other at a small water hole with night illumination. A further hide is planned on the homestead tank and a small wetland will be developed near the homestead precinct.

Tourism operators and educational groups can contact the station (Phone: (08) 8091 3809/2511, Email: fowlersgap@unsw.edu.au) or complete an information request form regarding access to facilities that include bird and other fauna viewing hides at water. Individuals and small parties visiting the station for eco-tourism may use the booking form.

The naming of Fowlers Gap

The following excerpt from J.A. Mabbutt, 'Historical Background of Fowlers Gap', addresses the naming of Fowlers Gap.

"In 1869-70 a gold strike occurred at Mt. Browne and subsequently one at Tibooburra. Traffic northwards increased as a result, and the bullock track from Umberumberka through Euriowie and Fowlers Gap to Bancannia and Packsaddle developed into a mail route. The mining episode was short-lived and was virtually over by 1885, but the route remained for coach traffic and for travelling stock. A stock route was gazetted in 1884, with a branch along the eastern foot, of the ranges where it presumably used the natural soakages and waterholes. The Gap may well have received its name at this time. Hardy (1969) refers to a Fowler, "perhaps an early Murray squatter", who may have pioneered the Gap through the Ranges and an alternative suggestion is that Fowler was a bullock-train driver who located the Gap on his journeys northwards. However local reports identify Fowler as a surveyor with one of the early exploration parties (K. Conners, pers. comm.). Certainly the name already existed in 1892, when Fowlers Gap Hotel was built on the route, on the left bank of Fowlers Creek about 3 km, downstream from the Gap itself."

 

Some of the trail guides and checklists to biodiversity on the Station are available here.

On a rise on the approach to the Station homestead complex, visitors are recommended to view the sculpture 'Creek Line' by Alison Clouston. A rest area off the highway provides parking. This large work is one of two installations forming the Silver City Highway Sculpture Project. The other work is in Tibooburra.

Commissioned by the Broken Hill City Gallery with NSW Ministry for the Arts City of the Arts funding, and support from the University of New South Wales, at Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Centre, on the Silver City Highway in outback NSW.


The work is about this extraordinary place, Fowlers Gap. It is made from local materials – mulga posts from old fence-lines, telephone poles made redundant by solar radio phones, a redgum trunk salvaged from a power-line cutting through the creek, steel cut and drilled at a local engineering works, ochres exposed by nearby roadwork.

Ancient lines of snaking creeks and footpaths, lines of lode, designs etched in rock, fences, roads, lines of communication and power; layer upon layer these lines are trodden, carved by hand or weather, surveyed, imagined, built. Technologies come, are superseded, and leave behind their tracks.

In CreekLine, the big phone poles are tilted over the meandering fence of closely planted mulga posts, as if reaching skywards for rain or bringing something up from the ground. They make a conduit between earth and sky. Forty-odd metres of these elevated poles are sliced by a crevice, a gorge, eroded by chainsaw as ground is worn by water. Oiled and rubbed with ochre, it is an aqueduct bearing up mineral colour from the veins of the earth.

The poles cross country to meet the redgum trunk. There in its descending limbs the vein of blood-red ochre branches like a flood-out of Fowlers Creek, or an inversion of the channels that bring down from the hills the land’s lifeblood, water.

Construction by Alison Clouston and Nick Powell With generous support from staff at Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Centre

 


UNSW Fowlers Gap. Broken Hill City Gallery