The Cumberland Plain
The Cumberland Plain is a large basin of land lying west of the city of Sydney, NSW and one of the most unique landscapes in Australia. Although geographically located within the South East Coast and Ranges, the Cumberland Plain is an outlier in almost every respect. A combination of geology and ecology made this an oasis of fertile woodland surrounded by sandstone plateaus on all sides.
This is the homeland of the Darug, Darkingjung, Dharawal and Gundungurra peoples since time immemorial. However, the fertility of the Cumberland Plain also made this region the focus of the British colony and their expansion. Since this invasion in 1788 the Cumberland Plain has become one of our most heavily cleared landscapes; today more than 92% of the landscape is cleared and most of our unique plants and animals are extinct, critically endangered, or in severe decline.
The rate of bushland clearing in the region has rapidly increased under all levels of government since 2000. The ironically termed Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan is poised to clear nearly one fifth of all remaining vegetation in the region, the largest bushland clearing development ever proposed or undertaken in this landscape since colonial invasion.
This website is dedicated to the Cumberland Plain landscape and to the community for whom it is a rapidly vanishing home.
A Wide & Open Land (2nd Edition)
269 pages, full colour & maps
A confronting and beautiful account of the Cumberland Plain landscape.
In 2019 Peter Ridgeway walked 179 kilometres across the bushland corridors of the Cumberland Plain (Western Sydney), carrying his own food and camping under the stars.
A Wide & Open Land: Walking the Last of Western Sydney’s Woodlands is densely packed with insights into our wildlife, plants & history. But at it’s heart this is also a book exploring what it means to destroy a landscape and community