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Gippsland

From Academic Kids

Gippsland is a large rural region in Victoria, Australia. It begins immediately east of the suburbs of Melbourne and stretches to the New South Wales border. Named after Governor George Gipps, it is best known for its primary production such as mining, power generation and farming as well as its tourist destinations—Phillip Island, Wilsons Promontory, the Gippsland Lakes, Walhalla, the Baw-Baw Plateau, the Strzelecki Ranges and the Gourmet Deli Region.

The climate is temperate and generally humid, except in the central region around Sale, where annual rainfall can be less than 600 millimetres (24 inches). In the Strzelecki Ranges, annual rainfall can be as high as 1500 millimetres (60 inches), whilst on the high mountains of East Gippsland it probably reaches similar levels - much of it falling as snow. In lower levels east of the Snowy, mean annual rainfall is typically about 900-950 millimetres (35-37 inches) and less variable than in the coastal districts of New South Wales. Mean maximum temperatures in lower areas range from 24°C (75°F) in January to a pleasant 15°C (59°F) in July. In the highlands of the Baw Baw Plateau and the remote Errinundra Plateau, temperatures are very pleasant in summer, ranging from a maximum of 18°C (64°F) to a minumum of 8°C (46°F). However, in winter, mean minima in these areas can be as low as -4°C (25°F), leading to heavy snowfalls that often isolate the Errinundra Plateau between June and October. Recent years have seen persistent drought over most of Gippsland - regarded as one of the most reliable rainfall areas in Australia - with annual rainfall over West Gippsland since 1997 being 20 percent lower than the average between 1885 and 1996. This is most likely a reflection of the enhanced greenhouse effect altering the position of anticyclones over and around Australia.

The soils are very infertile, being heavily deficient in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. Apart from frequently flooded areas, they are classed as Spodosols, Psamments and Ultisols. Consequently, heavy fertilisation is required for agriculture or pastoral development, but with this parts of Gippsland have become highly productive dairying and vegetable-growing regions. A few alluvial soils (especially ner the Snowy) have much better native fertility, and these have always been intensively developed.

Gippsland has the largest brown coal fields in Australia, extensive old-growth mountain ash forests, and diverse coastal heathlands and wetlands.

The East Gippsland Region covers 21,300 square kilometres, or nearly 10 % of Victoria, and is home to about 38,000 people. The majority of the population lives in and around the major towns of Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Orbost, Paynesville and Mallacoota.

The region comprises an area from the western watershed of the Mitchell River catchment eastward to the New South Wales border. The major river basins of the Mitchell, Tambo and Nicholson drain into the Gippsland Lakes. Further east, the Snowy River and several smaller stream catchments, including the Thurra, Wingan, Genoa, Bemm and Cann Rivers, enter the Tasman Sea.

More than 17,000 square kilometres are public land with 2,680 square kilometres of this being national parks, the largest being Snowy River National Park and the remote Errinundra National Park. Both of these are remote and inaccessible, but are very different otherwise, with Snowy River National Park featuring dramatic gorges and powerful rapids in a rain-shadow area forming the souhern border of the Monaro Tableland. Errinudra National Park is much wetter - inaccessible from June to October in most years - and feautes some of the most ancient forests in Australia, which have become controversial because employment in the remote areas east of the Snowy is so dependent upon timber as the soils are so infertile. The 4,193 square kilometres of privately owned land is mainly red gum plains, coastal plains, mountain plateaux and fertile river valleys.

Principal towns and cities: Traralgon, Morwell, Tyers, Warragul, Sale, Stratford, Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Orbost, Mallacoota, Cowes, Leongatha, Korumburra and Foster.

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