If you fly into Perth at sunset (& have a window seat on the left hand side!) the beauty of the Swan and Canning Rivers, and the glistening Indian Ocean is absolutely mesmerising.
One time I flew in though, it wasn’t the big rivers or the ocean that really stood out to me, but the string of lakes and wetlands dotted along parallel to the coast. The water bodies formed a glistening chain which, while I knew about in theory (vaguely), I had never truly appreciated.
Of course I knew about many of these lakes and wetlands in isolation, and had walked and ridden around a few, but the connection and relationships, their environmental and cultural history and values, were something I wanted to know more about.
In my research I’ve probably learned a lot that I should have already known – but that just makes me think that there are probably lots of Western Australians – even environmental and sustainably minded ones – that don’t really understand this aspect of Perth’s natural environment.
So, apparently, of the extensive system of lakes, waterways and wetlands that used to exist both permanently and seasonally along the Swan Coastal Plain, the vast majority have been ‘severely degraded or destroyed’ and reclaimed for housing, or market gardens (remember those?), parks etc.
While it was reasonably straightforward finding out about the lakes south of Herdsman Lake (hello wikipedia – the map below is attributed in a bunch of places to John Septimus Roe, WA’s first Surveyor-General…), which includes Lake Monger, Herdsman Lake and Hyde Park lakes, it was tricky to find the connection between the northern lakes – Lake Gwelup, Carine Lakes, Star Swamp and the Yellagonga Regional Park lakes.
Then I discovered (drumroll) Jenny Arnold’s Wetlands Resource Book (1990) – less groovily known as Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Bulletin 266. In this amazing book, there is this map –
Now I feel well prepared to research and visit (& maybe even slightly understand) Perth’s lakes and wetlands, armed with Jenny Arnold’s Wetlands Resource Book.
Starting close to home, I walked the dog around Carine Open Space yesterday (okay, which I do almost every day), which includes “Big Carine Swamp” and “Small Carine Swamp” (sometimes known as – wait for it – “Little Carine Swamp”).
Of course, I will write more at some point about my most local of Perth’s lakes and wetlands, but for now, here are some pics….
Next stop – Yellagonga Regional Park, which includes Lake Joondalup, Beenyup Swamp, Walluburnup Swamp and Lake Goollelal.