The geology and hydrology of the Central Ranges of Australia provide refuge for more mesic-adapted taxa unable to survive in the surrounding deserts. Whether this area has been a long-term refuge for mesic-adapted taxa is uncertain. Mesic-adapted taxa in the region have been argued as ‘relicts’, remnants of wet forests once covering the region. This scenario hypothesizes that ‘relicts’ survived in pockets of moist habitat in the Central Ranges as the Australian arid zone expanded. Here, we test an hypothesis of long-term occupancy in the Central Ranges for a cycad, Macrozamia macdonnellii, a taxon of conservation concern and also one frequently described as an ‘ancient relict’.