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Culture and heritage

Many years ago flats of box and river red gums provided food for Aboriginal hunters and for the stock brought in by European settlers. For the latter part of the 19th century a section of the eastern block of the park, including the present camping ground near Kiata, belonged to Woraigworm Station, and grazing and timber harvesting continued until the 1960s.

In 1955 the Kiata Lowan Sanctuary was created. This was the first area of the Little Desert to be reserved, when 217ha were set aside for the preservation of the Mallee Fowl. The area was increased to 945ha in 1968 and declared as the Little Desert National Park. At the same time, the Government announced that 80,000ha of the desert would be sub-divided and cleared for agriculture. The economic viability of the scheme was seriously questioned and it was argued that in the long term the land would be more valuable in its natural state. The plan was abandoned, and in December 1969 the area of the park was increased to 35,300ha.

By 1988 the park had increased in size to an area of 132,000 ha with the addition of the central and western blocks to the existing eastern block. The park now extends from the Wimmera River in the east to the South Australian border.