Jingemia Cave


Useful Information

Location: LOT 350 Eagle Hill Rd, Watheroo WA 6513.
6 km north-west of Watheroo.
(-30.262931, 116.001563)
Open: no restrictions.
[2022]
Fee: free.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Bridge, P.J., Pryce, M.W., Clarke, R.M., Costello, M.B. (1978): Sampleite from Jingemia Cave, Western Australia Mineralogical Magazine (September 1978 Vol. 42) pp 369-371.
Address: Jingemia Cave, LOT 350 Eagle Hill Rd, Watheroo WA 6513, Tel: +61-8-9688-6000. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1840s Shire of Moora area first settled.
1912 explored by Western Australian Government geologist Harry Woodward.

Description

Jingemia Cave looks at the first glimpse like an abandoned quarry. There is a huge hole in the ground with a diameter between 30 m and 60 m. On three sides there is a cliff face, up to 26 m high, while it is possible to climb down into the depression over a boulder slope on the fourth side. Right opposite is a shelter or abri, a large but shallow grotto, which is the reason why it was dubbed a cave. Also, the walls are home to bats, and so there was a small deposit of bat guano on the floor, which was mined in the 19th century. The huge pit is a collapse doline or sinkhole which was formed by the collapse of a huge karst cave.

The site is open for inspection and there is a parking lot, trails, and educational sights at the rim of the pit.

The hills between the towns of Carnamah and Moora are an outcropping of chert and other rock types. These rocks are very old, formed between 2.5 billion and 542 million years ago (mid Proterozoic era). The Noondine Chert is significant for having unique plants that grow only in association with chert and is an aquifer which supplies groundwater to local towns.

The site was first explored by Western Australian Government geologist Harry Woodward. In 1912, he explored the Noondine Hills as part of a Statewide geological survey. In his report he described "the striking spectacle" of a 70 feet high sheer rock face forming an amphitheatre with a large cavern called Jingemia at its base. Jingemia is an Aboriginal word translating "devils abode".

The area was an important pastoral and agricultural district. Before the invention of chemical fertilisers, guano was in great demand by the local farmers. It was mostly imported at high cost. In 1908, the State Government engaged Mr. Goeczel, a Hungarian geologist, to look for commercial quantities of guano. He recommended the Nambung Caves near Cervantes. After the guano in Jingemia Cave was discovered, it was mined by Kia-Ka Mina Caves Guanos Ltd. Old timbers in the pit are from this operation, they were used for hauling out the guano. During the operation quite unique minerals were discovered, for example sampleite, an alteration product of copper sulphides in contact with guano.